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Pinterest said to be pursuing new funding for $11B valuation

New funding would double the social discovery startup's valuation since its last round in May, sources tell the Wall Street Journal.

Pinterest is said to be seeking $500 million in new funding. CNET

A new round of funding in Pinterest could pin down a doubling in the valuation of the social discovery startup.

Pinterest, which lets people "pin" photos, websites, products and other items on virtual boards for others to see, is in talks to raise $500 million in a funding round that would value the startup at $11 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing unidentified sources described as familiar with the matter. The new cash would bring the company's total funding raised to date to more than $1.2 billion.

The new round, which is expected to close in the coming weeks, would more than double the $5 billion valuation Pinterest achieved when it closed a $200 million round of funding in May. The valuation would suggest investor confidence is strong in Pinterest's ambitions of transforming itself from a scrapbooking site into a destination for discovering a wide array of products.

A Pinterest spokeswoman declined to comment on the report.

Pinterest, which boasts 70 million users, has seen its virtual clipboard business grow by helping people uncover unique items and websites for specific needs, such as the right dress or decorations for a wedding or the best recipe for a family meal. The suggestions are considered useful because they offer easy-to-digest context: article Pins offer headline and story descriptions, recipe Pins list ingredients and cook times, and product Pins list price and availability.

As part of Pinterest expansion plans, the five-year-old startup announced last week that it was launching a service to help people cut through the noise when it comes to finding the right iPhone and iPad apps. Applying the same approach Pinterest uses for other "pinned" items, "app pins" let's users search for apps and download them directly from the Pinterest app without ever leaving to go to the App Store.

Also last week, the San Francisco-based startup began removing links to third-party marketing networks, possibly as part of a plan to boost revenue with the addition of a new "buy" button. Pinterest declined to comment on "buy" button reports but said the link removal was part of a process to reduce "spammy behavior" on the social network.