Pinterest filed for an initial public offering Friday afternoon, joining the fray of major tech IPOs in 2019 and offering a window into its finances for the first time.
The 9-year-old platform, on which users “pin” and organize images as they surf the web, shop and browse other users’ digital “boards,” said in SEC filings Friday it has more than 250 million monthly active users. In the U.S., 80 percent of women who have children and are 18 to 64 use Pinterest, according to Comscore. Pinterest will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange as “PINS.”
The San Francisco-based company generated more than $755 million in revenue in 2018, about a 60 percent year-over-year increase, and recorded a net loss of $63 million in 2018, compared with a $130 million net loss in 2017.
Pinterest’s main pitch to potential shareholders is its value as an advertising vehicle on which users are often looking for a product.
“Getting inspiration for your home, your style or your travel often means that you are actively looking for products and services to buy,” the filing read. “Billions of searches happen on Pinterest every month. In the United States, more people use Pinterest to find or shop for products than on social networks, according to a survey by Cowen and Company.”
Earlier this month, Pinterest released a number of ad and ecommerce products to make the site appealing to brands looking to advertise and sell their products directly on the platform. Those moves place Pinterest in direct competition with Instagram, which has also introduced more shopping features and this week rolled out a beta to let customers shopping some brands’ products check out within the app.
Pinterest said that while it was in the relatively early stages of monetizing the platform, it has identified more growth opportunities for advertisers, including building more products to improve performance measurement and diversifying its advertiser base. In the filing, Pinterest wrote that “substantially all” of its revenue comes from advertising on the site and that a “substantial portion” of its revenue is derived from a small group of advertisers, many of which are consumer-packaged-goods and retail brands. Pinterest is hoping to increase its presence in verticals like media and entertainment, travel, automotive, tech and financial services, it said.
As is usual in an IPO filing, Pinterest outlined a number of factors that could hinder its success. One of note: While the company is popular among women in the U.S., the company said it had room to grow among male users and also among international users. Data privacy rules and changes to web browsers’ web-tracking capabilities could also have a negative effect on the company’s business, it said, as well as unexpected changes from any of the other major tech companies—including Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google—which Pinterest relies on to drive traffic, log users in and track users around the web.
Bloomberg reported in February that the company was seeking a valuation of at least $12 billion after confidentially filing an IPO. Shares could be listed on the NYSE as soon as April, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Earlier this year, Lyft and Uber kicked off the IPO process. Earlier today, the internet video conferencing system Zoom also filed for an IPO.