Pinterest has acquired two companies that will aid in its commerce and ad-engineering capabilities. With the acquisitions, it also has invested in the teams behind those functionalities.
Pinterest has acquired The Hunt, a community-powered service for finding products, and Pext, an app created by OMG Labs that helps users discover images relevant to their text messages, and turns them into memes.
Pinterest head of engineering Michael Lopp emphasized that in addition to boosting its mobile shopping, advertising and image indexing abilities, the acquisitions would bring the experience and knowledge from their respective founders.
The Hunt cofounder and chief executive officer Tim Weingarten, along with some of The Hunt’s core product staff, will join Pinterest’s engineering and product teams. (The Hunt’s other cofounder, Simon Peck, did not join Pinterest.) One of Pext’s cofounders, Harsh Goel, will be working on the monetization side.
“As some of the best minds in mobile shopping, monetization and image indexing technologies, their contributions will be incredibly valuable as we continue to build a discovery engine that helps people plan their everyday lives,” Lopp said.
Pinterest has been focusing on its mobile discovery and purchase functionalities. Recently, the company’s head of growth and brand David Rubin shared at a WWD forum that Pinterest’s development is now all mobile-first and that 80 percent of users access the platform on a mobile device every day. In November, it created a section on its mobile app that aggregates its estimated 60 million Buyable Pins, in an effort to help users to more easily find items that they can buy directly through Pinterest.
The Hunt, based in San Francisco, recently released a tool that measures actual purchase intent (rather than inferred intent from a “like,” for example), and can make recommendations based on that data. It boasted four million users, with backing by Ashton Kutcher and Tyra Banks, including Khosla and Javelin Venture Partners, and will “sunset” its service by early next year.
Smart Start Fund invested in Pext, which has removed the app from the App Store and Google Play.
It was not immediately clear how many of the other employees of each start-up are joining Pinterest, and the amount Pinterest paid for the acquisitions was not disclosed. These make the eighth and ninth acquisitions by Pinterest, currently valued at $11 billion to date.