Rakuten Leads Investment in Pinterest
Global social commerce pioneer takes stake in online sharing service
TOKYO, May 17, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Rakuten (jasdaq:4755), one of the world's largest online marketplaces, today announced that it is leading a $100M investment in Pinterest, with participation from existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners, and FirstMark Capital, as well as a number of angel investors.
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."
Rakuten ranks among the top 10 internet companies in the world. Among its numerous online properties, its flagship B2B2C (business-to-business-to-consumer) model e-commerce site Rakuten Ichiba is the largest e-commerce site in Japanand among the world's largest by sales. Its global presence has been reinforced through the acquisitions of leading online marketplaces Buy.com (US), Priceminister (France), Ikeda (now Rakuten Brasil), Tradoria (now Rakuten Deutschland) and Play.com (UK), and investments in Ozon.ru and AHA Life. Whereas other marketplaces may compete directly with sellers, Rakuten's model seeks to empower merchants to deliver Omotenashi, a Japanese high service mindset, which helps sellers create lasting relationships with customers.
Rakuten, Inc. (jasdaq:4755), is one of the world's leading Internet service companies, providing a variety of consumer- and business-focused services including e-commerce, e-reading, travel, banking, securities, credit card, e-money, portal and media, online marketing and professional sports. Rakuten is expanding globally and currently has operations throughout Asia, Western Europe, and the Americas. Founded in 1997, Rakuten is headquartered in Tokyo, with over 10,000 employees and partner staff worldwide. For more information, visit http://global.rakuten.com/group
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