Rakuten Inc. announced today that it is leading a $100 million investment in Pinterest, with participation from existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners, and FirstMark Capital, as well as a number of angel investors.
Last November Rakuten bought Canadian-made Kobofor a total of $315 million in cash. At the time Mikitani called the company "entrepreneurial, fast, and strong" and said the two companies have a "shared vision.
Today Kobo spokesperson Cerys Goodall commented on the investment, “We see amazing future opportunities with Kobo’s focus on social reading, Pinterest’s visual communication of things consumers love, and the e-commerce engine of Rakuten to one day create another avenue for consumers to engage online.”
The funding will allow Pinterest to continue improving its service and expanding its community globally. The investment also marks the start of a strategic partnership between Rakuten and Pinterest to help expand in Japan and into Rakuten’s 17 other global markets.
Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten said: “While some may see e-commerce as a straightforward vending machine-like experience, we believe it is a living process where both retailers and consumers can communicate, discover, and curate to make the experience more entertaining. We see tremendous synergies between Pinterest’s vision and Rakuten’s model for e-commerce. Rakuten looks forward to introducing Pinterest to the Japanese market as well as other markets around the world.”
Ben Silbermann, co-founder and CEO of Pinterest, said: “Our goal is to help people discover things they love, by connecting people through their shared interests. Bringing Rakuten on board gives us an amazing opportunity to move a step closer to this goal.”