Pinterest, the internet photo sharing and publishing service, has raised $150 million in a new round of funding from its existing investors and is now valued at more than $12 billion. Clearly, the startup is competing with Google and Facebook to gain an increased share of the digital advertising market.
Pinterest is going to use the additional capital to make further investments in visual search technology and fuel global expansion. The visual search technology powers tools such as its Lens camera to photograph items and identify them online thus making ads more relevant and useful. Recently, Google, too, built an image recognition tool named Lens to encourage buying behavior. But, Pinterest touts that its image recognition technology can get products in front of users in different ways than Facebook and Google.
Pinterest is also improving the local and relevant content for Pinners outside of the U.S. “In the last year we’ve nearly tripled users in Germany and Brazil and more than doubled in France and Japan,” a spokesperson said. According to an announcement by the company in April, it has more than 175 million monthly active users, and its growth has been accelerating in the past few months.
Pinterest believes that it can achieve growth by putting images that interest and inspire users. And this year, it is reportedly aiming to cross more than $500 million in ad revenue from its active user base after generating $300 million in revenue last year.