The brand tech group You & Mr. Jones revealed Tuesday that it made a $20 million investment in Pinterest, as part of the platform's series H round of $150 in funding made by several investors in June.
With the investment, You & Mr. Jones became a stakeholder in Pinterest, one the largest strategic venture capital infusions the company has made to date.
The inspiration comes from Pinterest's visual search and its 200 million monthly active users, according to David Jones, former CEO of Havas and founder of You & Mr Jones. "We're not big fans of advertising," he said. "It's more about disrupting marketing."
Early on, Jones also championed Facebook and Google's Niantic, calling out the potential for each company as being well ahead of the curve. Insiders believe this investment in Pinterest could be seen in the same light.
Jones called Pinterest a "state-of-the-art visual discovery tool." He verbalized a three-phase timeline of the "internet economy," saying each builds on the previous phase rather than replacing it.
Phase one is the intent economy, which was mostly created by Google. Phase two, which he attributes to Facebook, added the consumer's identity. Phase three delivers tailored content based on interests. And that's where Pinterest comes in with its visual search, he said.
"We think visual and voice search will become really big, but it won't replace text search," he said.
Jones views technology as an enabler. It facilitates what he calls the "perfect market." The model the world has been in for the past 20 to 30 years has been based on interruptions. "Lots of stuff gets thrown in front of you and it is mostly things you don't care about and half the time it will annoy you," he said. "People don't hate brands or advertising. They just don't want to see things they have no interest in."
The core belief behind the investment in Pinterest puts the world in Jones' "perfect market." He also believes there will be "missteps" along the way, but eventually the industry will get there.
You & Mr. Jones also recently invested in an AI company called Crossing Minds that is building a personalized AI engine that will learn more about consumers to serve up personalized recommendations.