SAN FRANCISCO – Pinterest held talks to buy VSCO, a photography app that has created a social media fever among teenagers, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.
Discussions are going on, these people said, anonymously because they are not allowed to speak in public. The agreed price cannot be learned; Pinterest has a market cap of around $ 49 billion, while VSCO has raised $ 90 million in funding and was last valued at $ 550 million. People warn that an acquisition may not come true.
Representatives from Pinterest and VSCO (pronounced “vis-coe” “) declined to comment on the deal negotiations.
Julie Inouye, a spokeswoman for VSCO, said the company is focusing on expanding its business. “We always meet with different companies in the creative space at any given time and do not discuss rumors or speculations, ”she said.
Pinterest and VSCO, short for Visual Supply Company, are part of a group of tech companies that are highly focused on digital images and visual editing and rely less on social networking features. Pinterest, a digital pin site that went public in 2019, allows users to discover and save images to inspire creative projects or plan important aspects of life. their, including home, wedding and meal remodeling.
VSCO, a 10-year-old startup, creates a photo and video editing and sharing app. In 2019, it became popular with a Generation Z group known as “VSCO girls” who were known to wear Crocs and wear Hydro Flasks. The ideas of the VSCO girls went viral and inspired imitations, taunts, memes, and Halloween costumes on social media.
For Pinterest, buying a startup that used to resonate with a young audience and expertise in photo and video editing technology could drive its core service, these people said.
Since Pinterest went public, its revenue has increased, though analysts say they don’t expect Pinterest to be consistently profitable until 2022. It has also expanded internationally.
During the pandemic, the company received an increase in interest as people were locked out and moved to more digital operations. Pinterest added 100 million monthly active users last year, and now has a total of 450 million monthly active users.
The San Francisco company also faced social unrest last year. In December, they agreed to pay $ 22.5 million to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit and retaliation from their former CEO, one of the major publicly disclosed personal settlements. most about sexism. Two colored female employees who quit last year also openly discussed their experiences with racist and sexist comments, unfair paychecks and retaliation at the company.
Founded in 2011, VSCO is known by young users as a kind of dissident social network. The app has no likes, comments, or followers, so it seems to put less pressure on users to build a fan base. VSCO also avoids advertising, instead making money by charging people for extra features. Out of 100 million registered users, more than two million are paid.
As VSCO girls became a cultural phenomenon by the end of 2019, investors’ interest in the startup increased. But this fad has cooled down. When a pandemic struck, VSCO laid off 30% of its staff. In December, it acquired Trash, a mobile app for video editing, and said it plans to continue acquisitions of the company by 2021.