Pinterest valued at $3.8bn after fundraising despite lack of revenue

Image-sharing site raises $225m from venture capital firms and says investment enables it to pursue goals 'more aggressively'

The image-sharing social website Pinterest has closed its most recent round of fundraising with a $3.8bn valuation, though it has yet to generate revenue.

The company announced on Wednesday that it has raised $225m in its most recent funding round and that the funds will be used to test new monetization models, to expand internationally and to improve infrastructure.

Fidelity led a group of venture capital investors in the deal, including Bessemer Venture Partners, Firstmark Capital, Valiant Capital Management and Andreessen Horowitz.

Pinterest announced in September that it was testing a native advertising scheme that allows companies to promote pins. It has also attempted to make money through a mildly controversial system which collects “affiliate” payments on purchases made through external links posted on the site. 

"We hope to be a service that everyone uses to inspire their future, whether that's dinner tomorrow night, a vacation next summer, or a dream house someday," Pinterest co-founder and chief executive Ben Silbermann said in a statement. "This new investment enables us to pursue that goal even more aggressively."

In February, when it secured $200m in funding, Pinterest was valued at $2.5bn. On Thursday it said the new funds would be used to expand the experimental advertising scheme as a “global program” and to help the company expand into 10 more countries before the end of the year. The three-year-old company said it would also direct funds to improve its mobile products, which account for more than 75% of the site’s usage.

ComScore said in February that Pinterest had 48.7 million users globally.

The San Francisco-based company describes itself as a place where “no matter what you’re interested in, there’s a place for it here”. Typical content includes graphic design, simple recipes and hobbit safety videos.

The site, which has been criticised for its ambiguous photo protections, changed its terms of service language in March 2012, to remove its right to sell uploaded content. It also said it would make it easier for people to report potential copyright infringement

Pinterest’s newest valuation round comes as the social-networking behemoths Twitter and Facebook assess their performance as publicly traded companies. Facebook raised $16bn before going public in May 2012. More than a year passed before the company’s stock reached its IPO value, of $38, in August. Twitter filed for an initial public offering last month and said it expected to raise $1bn from a share sale


Amanda Holpuch in New York

The GuardianTramp

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