Pinterest said on Wednesday that it has surpassed 100 million monthly active members, in a milestone for the digital scrapbooking start-up, which has faced scrutiny over whether the size of its user base and business growth can justify its huge valuation.
The company, based in San Francisco, has grown rapidly in the last five years, amassing a war chest from top venture capital investors and strategic partners, and gaining a valuation of $11 billion in the process. Pinterest's highly visual interface—it is akin to a digital corkboard for saving pictures of places to visit and recipes to try—has influenced many other companies to make similar design decisions and rethink the importance of photos over text.
Early comparisons pitted Pinterest against social networking companies like Facebook and Twitter. But Pinterest sees itself as more of an existential competitor to Google, a way for people to discover things they want to do in the real world rather than a social avenue.