Pinterest lands $100M investment led by Japanese e-commerce giant

Rakuten, Inc., a Japanese conglomerate of Internet services that
includes e-commerce giant E-Commerce Marketplace, has led a $100 million investment
in social media pinboard site Pinterest, said Mike Jaconi, CEO of Rakuten’s
loyalty software program FreeCause and executive officer at Rakuten. With this financing, Pinterest is now valued at $1.5 billion.

Jaconi described the partnership with Pinterest as an
aggressive global investment for Rakuten. He declined to speak on behalf of
Pinterest when asked if this investment would influence social network toward
developing e-commerce-related features and functions.

However, Jaconi
speculated on the strategic advantages for both Pinterest and Rakuten.
“Pinterest’s objective in this partnership as I see it is partly to build its
service worldwide, starting with the Japanese market,” Jaconi said.
“Pinterest recognizes Rakuten as a global internet player and they want to
leverage some of the skill set in the growing business world.”  Rakuten
has 77 million members in Japan according to Jaconi, adding that the company
aims to become the top global internet service company.

“We want to
continue investing in technology that is as innovative as Pinterest,” Jaconi
stated when asked if he saw possible alliances with other social media icons
like Facebook and Twitter. “If we need to buy and invest to bring us closer to
that source of innovation, we will.“

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