Science, the eight-month-old LA-based technology incubator / studio that brought us the Dollar Shave Club and most recently e-commerce site Uncovet, is making its first acquisition: it is buying Pinpuff, a fast-growing “Klout for Pinterest” that measures and tracks the influence of Pinterest users — “Pinfluence” in Pinpuff parlance — that was launched only in February of this year. The deal is yet another a sign of how the ability to curate and mine social media information can be considered as important as the social media platforms themselves.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Mike Jones, the CEO of Science, says that the acquisition will be used to help build out other businesses in Science’s portfolio, using Pinpuff’s social know-how to extend growth virally. It will work in conjunction with its existing in-house agency HelloSociety. “Part of our strategy here at Science is to build services and tools that assist influencers in building their audiences, and eventually themselves as actual businesses,” he writes. “We believe Pinpuff will…provide additional intelligence and distribution strategy to upcoming Science launches,” writes Jones in a blog post.
He notes that Gaurav Sharma, the company’s founder and CEO is relocating from India to LA as part of the acquisition — something that appears to have already taken place.
Since launching in 2010, Pinterest has captured the attention of a particularly proactive consumer base. ComScore noted earlier this month that Pinterest grew 4,000 percent in the last year, and its users were found to spend more, buy more items and conduct more transactions online than other social media buyers.
That user base is the same one being targeted by Science: Jones notes that Pinterest is the second-highest referral network for sales within its companies, all of which are being built with a social twist at their heart (recommendations and so on). “Pinterest influencers are critical now to nearly any launch in the consumer product space,” he writes.
There have been a number of companies coming out to measure and harness how the social media world is operating, not least Klout itself, but also some focused specifically on Pinterest, such as Curalate. That is not too much of a surprise, given the influx of data and relatively few tools provided by the platform itself to track it (although that is likely to change, if you look at Pinterest’s own job board, which might eventually have implications for companies like Pinpuff).
Jones says that Pinpuff was one of the early movers to spot the trend of making sense of the noise:
“Pinpuff was one of the first technologies to identify Pinterest’s potential as not only a great place to share, but to motivate users to follow each other,” Jones says, pointing out why it is that Pinterest itself has been so critical in the world of commerce. “The more people unearth great finds, the more likely Pinterest is to drive them beyond the platform to seek out more information or even, ultimately, purchase what they discovered.”
The most recent figures we have on the company note that it has signed deals with some 100 brands to track influence on Pinterest. In March it noted that it was picking up 10,000 users/day among people looking to measure their Pinfluence, with a total user based of 100,000 only two weeks out of the gates.
What’s interesting is that we may see Pinpuff extend its services on to other social networks that also compete with Pinterest. Jones, an ex president of MySpace and former SVP at AOL, notes that the “Fancy and Svpply are rising through the ranks, and we can tap into the technology that Pinpuff has built to create a true gauge of reach – one that goes beyond clicks, page views, and static traffic numbers, one that measures the power of influence.”
Science creates, scales and acquires successful digital businesses by bringing together ideas, talent, resources and financing through a centralized platform. The company focuses on developing new businesses, providing emerging startups with operational strategy and capital, and transforming later-stage Internet ventures with new talent and innovations. Science is backed by a group of top institutional and independent investors, which include: Rustic Canyon, White Star Capital, The Social+Capital Partnership, Tomorrow Ventures, Siemer Ventures, Philippe Camus, Jean-Marie Messier, Jonathan Miller and Dennis Phelps.
Pinterest is a social networking site with a visually-pleasing “virtual pinboard” interface. Users collect photos and link to products they love, creating their own pinboards and following the pinboards of other people whom they find interesting. The site has experienced rapid growth in recent months.