Pinterest pins down funds from Japanese e-commerce giant

Updated on: 2012-05-17 || Source: cnet.com

Pinterest has reportedly garnered investment interest from one of the world's largest Internet service providers that could value the social photo-sharing service at $1.5 billion.

Rakuten, which runs the largest e-commerce site in Japan, is expected to invest $50 million in a $120 million round that would value Pinterest at $1.5 billion, according to an All Things D report tonight. The new funding round, as well as the new investors, is expected to be announced tomorrow, according to the report.

CNET has contacted Pinterest for comment and will update this report when we learn more.

Launched in March 2010, Pinterest has raised $37 million from investors such as Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners, and FirstMark Capital to give it a current valuation of $200 million. The site has experienced phenomenal growth in the past few months, doubling its number of daily unique visitors to 4 million since January, according to data released last month by social media marketer Tamba.

In the wake of Facebook's acquisition of Instagram, those numbers make Pinterest ripe for buyers, as my colleague Rafe Needleman points out. "There's really only one startup that emerges as most Instagram-like: Pinterest," Needleman writes. "All the others are battling for position as distant followers."

Founded in 1997, Rakuten had revenues of $4.7 billion in 2011.

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