In an unlikely pairing, Rakuten, Japan’s top e-commerce site, will reportedly lead the latest round of investment in Pinterest. The Tokyo-based Web giant will invest upwards of $50 million in a $100 to $120 million round, which values the super-hot social bookmarking site at $1.5 billion. But, why Rakuten?
“While the latest round of funding for Pinterest has been the mostly hotly contested of late in tech circles, one source said Silbermann was looking for a global strategic investor and had talked to several large Asian companies,” AllThingsD reports. There are other investors in the new round, but they had not been announced -- or even decided -- as of late Wednesday. Yet, “sources said Silbermann has been concerned with Pinterest’s global growth as well as fending off international clones, and was looking for a partner with which the start-up could work closely.”
Current Pinterest investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners and FirstMark Capital, as well several top angel investors. As of last October, they had valued the company at $200 million, AllThingsD recalls.