Rakuten, Japan’s biggest e-commerce site, may lead a consortium that will place the next investment in Pinterest, the much-hyped social bookmarking company based in Silicon Valley, U.S.
Rakuten may place $50 million from a $100 million investment round which values Pinterest at $1.5 billion.
While the other investors are still to be announced by Pinterest co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann, the reason for choosing Rakuten as the leading contributor was, according to a source, that “he (Silbermann) just really liked them.”
Pinterest, a service which allows users to “pin” their interests through an attractive graphical interface, was last October valued at $200 million by some of its investors, including Bessemer Venture Partners and FistMark Capital.
The interest for Rakuten may be connected not only to the Japanese company’s money, but also to its expertise. Rakuten may advise Pinterest on how to best convince their audience to purchase, as commerce is already beginning to emerge as a natural evolution on the site.
Rakuten was founded in 1997 and had revenues of $4.7 billion in 2011. Its CEO, Hiroshi Mikitani, is one of the richest men in Japan.