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Pinterest expects to book more than $500 million in revenue this year

Pinterest screen on a mobile phone
Source: Pinterest
Pinterest screen on a mobile phone

Pinterest may finally be growing into its $11 billion valuation.

Pinterest, which makes all of its money from advertising, is targeting more than $500 million in revenue in 2017, according to multiple sources familiar with the company's plans. Some believe the company could generate as much as $600 million this year.

Even on the low end of that range, that would be a jump of at least 67 percent over the $300 million in revenue Pinterest brought in last year, when it had internal goals to bring in $1 million per day. The company generated $100 million in revenue in 2015.

Pinterest's business is still relatively new. The company is in its third full year selling advertising and has just one ad product, Promoted Pins, which let advertisers push their posts to users who may not follow them on the service.

But those close to the company believe Pinterest is on the path to an IPO. Sources say Pinterest won't IPO "soon" but that it's currently putting the pieces in place. The company hired its first CFO, Todd Morgenfeld, from Twitter back in October, and has Facebook's former monetization director, Tim Kendall, running its sales business.

Those close to Pinterest believe that if Snap, which generated roughly $400 million in revenue the year before its IPO and shares tens of millions in revenue with media partners, can fetch a valuation north of $20 billion on the public markets, Pinterest is in good shape to do something similar.

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A company spokesperson sent Recode the following statement.

"We're very happy with our revenue trajectory but aren't sharing specifics about our revenue projections at this time. With regard to an IPO, we don't have any current plans for an IPO right now because we're focused on growing the business."

Pinterest has made a strong push in the past two years toward visual search and recently added new features to help users actually buy the products they find on the service. But Pinterest doesn't make any money from sales completed on Pinterest and has been adamant in the past that it has no plans to do so.

Instead, it hopes to continue growing its business through advertising. Research firm eMarketer projects marketers will spend nearly $37 billion in search advertising in the U.S. alone in 2017, though it doesn't have Pinterest in its list of the top seven companies making money from that category.

Google dominates search advertising, claiming more than 75 percent of the U.S. market.

The other thing to watch with Pinterest is the company's user growth. Pinterest has 150 million monthly active users, nearly half of them in the United States, a lucrative advertising market.

But Pinterest is also seven years old, and advertising businesses often rely on steady user growth. Snapchat, for example, has 150 million daily active users, but a recent slowdown in quarter-over-quarter growth already has some investors worried. Pinterest will certainly face the same kind of scrutiny.

Pinterest has raised more than $1 billion in venture funding from a slew of investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners, FirstMark Capital, SV Angel and Fidelity.

By Kurt Wagner, Re/code.net.

CNBC's parent NBCUniversal is an investor in Recode's parent Vox, and the companies have a content-sharing arrangement.