Founded by Ben Silbermann, Evan Sharp and Paul Sciarra, Pinterest is an online site where users can create their own pin boards.

Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann has described the site as “a catalog of ideas” and stated that the genesis of Pinterest came from his childhood love of collecting. When Silbermann and his friends looked online, they noticed that it missed a suitable site for sharing collections.

Pinterest is written with Django, a web application framework based on Python.

Short facts about Pinterest

Type of company Private
Launched 03/01/10
Headquarters San Francisco, California, USA
  • Paul Sciarra
  • Evan Sharp
  • Ben Silbermann
Employees 800+ employees
Subsidiaries Instapaper


Pinterest is available in many different languages, including the following:

  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Norwegian (Bokmål)
  • Swedish
  • Danish
  • Finnish
  • Polish
  • Dutch
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Greek
  • Czech
  • Slovak
  • Russian
  • Turkish
  • Bemba
  • Indonesian
  • Japanese
  • Korean


2009–2010: The launch

Sciarra, Sharp and Silbermann started the development of Pinterest in late 2009. In March 2010, the site was launched – but only as a closed beta.

Eventually, the site was turned into invitation-only open beta. Silbermann personally wrote to Pinterest’s first 5,000 users, offering them his personal phone number and also meeting with some of them.

Four months after being launched, Pinterest only had a few thousand users, and Silbermann and a few programmers operated the site from a small apartment. (As a comparison, Instagram had about 1 million users four months after its launch.) Nine months after the launch, Pinterest had accumulated 10,000 users.

2011: Pinterest goes iPhone

In March 2011, Pinterest launched an app for iPhone and this app became a very popular download – much greater than expected. That summer, Pinterest finally moved out of their crammed apartment.

Encouraged by the success of the iPhone app, Pinterest launched an app for iPad in August. That same month, Time Magazine included Pinterest in their “50 Best Websites of 2011”.

Pinterest Mobile, a mobile website version for non-Apple users, premiered in September. Before the year was over, Pinterest had become one of the top-ten largest social network services, with 11 million total visits per week.

2012: A year of changes and rapid expansion

1st quarter

Pinterest started the year by driving more referral traffic to retailers than both YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+. They were also named The Best New Startup by TechCrunch.

For January 2012, Pinterest had 11.7 million unique visitors from the United States. According to Experian Hitwise, Pinterest became the third largest social network in the U.S. in March – being behind only Facebook and Twitter.

2nd quarter

Paul Sciarra left his position at Pinterest in April 2012 to become entrepreneur-in-residence at Andreessen Horowitz.

In May, Rakuten (in Japan) announced that they were leading a 100 million USD investment in Pinterest, together with, among others, Andreessen Horowitz, FirstMark Capital and Bessemer Venture Partners.

3rd quarter

In august, Pinterest finally changed their policy for how you could sign up with them. Until now, an invitation from an existing member or directly from Pinterest had been necessary, and users who turned to Pinterest to ask for an invite could sometime have to wait a long time before their request was granted.

August was also the month when Pinterest launched apps for iPad and Android.

In September, Jon Jenkins was hired as head of engineering. Jenkins had previously spent eight years at Amazon.

4th quarter

In October, Pinterest added a report feature and gave users the ability to block each other. Pinterest also launched designated businesses accounts. Existing businesses on Pinterest got to chose between converting their personal accounts to businesses accounts or start over from scratch with a business account.

2013: Growth and acquisitions

In early 2013, Pinterest had nearly 50 million users globally. By July, that number had increased to 70 million.

Pinterest carried out several acquisitions in 2013, including the purchase of Livestar and Hackermeter. Hackermeter’s founders joined Pinterest as engineers. In late October, a 225 million USD round of equity funding was secured by Pinterest. The company was now valued at 3.8 billion USD – despite not generating revenue.

2014: Revenue

Pinterest began generating revenue in 2014, when it introduced paid adds on the site.

2015: Rich Pins

In June, Pinterest launched the Rich Pin feature. A Rich Pin is buyable pin and have more information than a normal link. A special button makes it easy for Pinterest users to buy things directly. Towards the end of the year, Pinterest launched a new feature to help users monitor price drops on buyable pins.

2016: Video

Since August 2016, users and advertisers have been able to upload and store video clips (even long ones) on Pinterest.

2016 was also the year when Pinterest announced that it was acquiring the Instapaper team.

By October, approximately 150 million users were active monthly on Pinterest. Of these, 70 million were located within the United States.


March: Pinterest announced the purchase of the small search-engine business Jelly Industries.

April: Pinterest now had 175 million monthly users.

June: Pinterest raised 150 million USD in venture capital from a group of investors at the same share price as when the previous funding round was carried out in 2015. All the money came from investors that had already invested in Pinterest in the past.