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.


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

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