Pinterest files to go public: Booked $756 million last year and claims more than 250 million monthly users

Key Points
  • Pinterest has released its S-1 publicly.
  • The company lost $63 million on revenue of $756 millino, 
  • The company joins several other tech companies expected to go public this year including Uber, Lyft and Slack.
Pinterest files for initial public offering
Pinterest files for initial public offering

Pinterest released its IPO prospectus on Friday, joining a bevy of tech companies going public in 2019. The stock will trade under the ticker "PINS" on the New York Stock Exchange.

The San Francisco-based social networking company allows users to "pin" images as they shop, plan their weddings or brainstorm vacations. The company's primary revenue stream is from advertisements, with brands paying for "promoted pins."

Here are the most important numbers:

  • The company generated $756 million in revenue 2018 for a net loss of $63 million. Revenue grew 60% from 2017's figure of $473 million.
  • In Q4 2018 the company had 265 million monthly active users. That trails Twitter's 321 million MAUs and Facebook's 2.32 billion. Pinterest said in its filing that it has seen "significant growth" in international monthly active users over the past few years. The company believes this is a result of its "recent focus on localizing content in international markets" and expects growth in this segment to continue to outpace that in the U.S. in the near term.
  • Global average revenue per user for 2018 was $3.14, representing a 25 percent increase compared to the previous year. By way of comparison, Facebook booked $24.96 in ARPU last year, and $7.37 just in the last quarter of 2018.
  • In the U.S., Pinterest's 2018 ARPU was $9.04, marking a 47 percent increase compared to 2017. International ARPU was $0.25 in 2018, marking a 22 percent increase from the prior year.

Pinterest said that while no customer accounted for more than 10 percent of its revenue in 2018, a significant portion is concentrated in the consumer packaged goods and retail verticals.

Popular with moms

Pinterest in popular with moms: It claims that 80 percent of its total audience in the U.S. is made up of women ages 18-64 with children, citing an independent study by Comscore.

In its S-1 filing, Pinterest said one risk factor is that it could fail to penetrate new demographics. Still, Pinterest flaunts its coveted user demographics, claiming more than half of all U.S. millennials. Pinterest said "eight out of 10 moms" are on its platform, adding that "are often the primary decision-makers when it comes to buying products and services for their household."

"In the United States, more people use Pinterest to find or shop for products than on social networks, according to a survey by Cowen and Company," according to the filing. This will put Pinterest head-to-head with Instagram, which just this week announced a new shopping feature to encourage users to buy directly from their platform.

Pinterest said its user growth had been negatively impacted in the second quarter of 2018 due to Facebook's decision to change its login authentication systems. Pinterest noted that its reliance on other services including Facebook and Google could be a risk factor for the business.

"[I]f Facebook or Google discontinue single sign-on or experience an outage, then we may lose and be unable to recover users previously using this function, and our user growth or engagement could decline," according to the filing.

Pinterest also notes that regulators in the U.S. and the European Union could enact more legislation that would hold it accountable for failure to comply with content removal requirements. Regulators have been even more focused on social media companies in the past week after a graphic video of a mosque shooting in New Zealand continued to pop up on several platforms even after the original live stream was removed. Pinterest took steps to reduce the spread of misinformation about vaccines on its platform last month when it suspended search results for related terms when it found out false anti-vaccine information was spreading on its service.

Like many other tech companies, including Google and Facebook, the company will offer two classes of stock. Class A shares will receive one vote per share, while Class B shares will receive 20 votes per share. Pinterest's filing did not list the breakdown of stock ownership among its executive officers and directors.

Pinterest's prospectus comes after similar filings from Lyft, the ride-sharing company, Zoom, a video conferencing company, and PagerDuty, a tech company whose service helps companies respond quickly when their websites experience outages. Other tech companies including Uber, Slack and Palantir are also expected to go public this year.