×

35. Pinterest

The world’s bulletin board

Evan Sharp and Ben Silbermann, co-founders of Pinterest
Source: Pinterest
Evan Sharp and Ben Silbermann, co-founders of Pinterest

Founders: Ben Silbermann, Evan Sharp, Paul Sciarra
Date launched: 2010
Funding: $1.1 billion
Industry disrupted: Retail, e-commerce, social media

The San Francisco-based Pinterest lets people create, collect and share ideas and items online by "pinning" them to their boards. Looking for spring fashion ideas or the best pancake recipes? There are Pinterest boards for that—some visible just to individuals, and others shared between groups or made public. Since the company was founded in 2010, it has amassed more than 70 million users worldwide—the majority are women—and over $1 billion in venture funding, from Andreessen Horowitz, SV Angel and Bessemer Venture Partners.

Read MoreFULL LIST: 2015 DISRUPTOR 50

The company was recently valued by investors at $5 billion, an astonishing figure considering that it's just now putting in place the mechanism for bringing in revenue. One of those methods will be paid "pins" by advertisers.

Marketers, who have been running paid ads that look like native content on Facebook and Twitter for several years now, will pay to create a promoted pin ad on Pinterest and then target it to certain groups of people based on their location, sex and the topics they've shown interest in. The hope is that Pinterest users will pass around these sponsored pins as readily as they do any other.

"There wasn't a great way to collect the things you love online. From that idea came Pinterest, which over the years has evolved from a site for collecting to a visual discovery engine." -Ben Silbermann, co-founder and CEO

Latest Special Reports

  • Top States 2016

    CNBC's annual study measures all 50 states on more than 60 different metrics.

  • People walk amongst aircraft exhibited on the tarmac during the opening of the International Paris Airshow at Le Bourget on June 15, 2015.

    The International Paris Air Show is celebrating its 52nd anniversary this year with the big movers and shakers in the aerospace and defense industry all attending the event.

  • International business and political leaders gather in Dalian, China for the 2017 instalment of the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions.

Tech