Digital pin-board site Pinterest is scorching hot. People are pinning like crazy. Publishers are benefiting from an uptick in Pinterest-driven traffic. And venture capitalists are tripping over themselves to get a piece of the social property.
But does all this interest warrant a $500 million valuation, especially without any substantial revenue streams to speak of? Absolutely, says private financial data company PrivCo.
As a refresher, Pinterest is the private-beta site that encourages members to “pin” products, recipes, clothes, photos, and other items they love to collections called boards. Launched in 2010, Pinterest has ballooned into a top ten social network that has more than 10 million users who spend, on average, 97 minutes on site each month.
On paper, Pinterest is valued at a rumored $200 million, a figure determined by the startup’s $27 million funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz in October of last year. But the rapid growth of the user base — which skews heavily toward female arts and crafts enthusiasts — and Pinterest’s potential to plug-in a number of different revenue-generating features make it now worth more than double the outdated $200 million figure, PrivCo CEO Sam Hamadeh told VentureBeat.
“Pinterest’s user base has nearly tripled since [its last funding round], bringing the valuation now, we estimate, closer to $400 million in a new venture financing,” Hamadeh said.
As an acquisition target, and PrivCo makes a compelling argument for why Facebook should pursue an acquisition quickly, Pinterest could tack on $100 million more for its expected value.
“An additional 25 percent ‘control premium‘ to acquire the entire company puts us at about $500 million today in an acquisition,” Hamadeh added.
That’s a pretty astronomical figure for a company that has only quietly tested the monetization waters — but maybe it’s not so farfetched, after all.
“With their level of engagement and unique audience, I think $500 million would be a bargain for Pinterest,” analyst and occasional VentureBeat contributor Rocky Agrawal said.
Palo Alto-based Pinterest has 30 employees and has raised $37.5 million in funding to date. The site attracts 12 million unique visitors each month. Investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners, FirstMark Capital, Ron Conway, Kevin Hartz, Max Levchin, Jack Abraham, Michael Birch, and other Angels.