In 2007, before Pinterest was founded, there was another photo sharing and saving company called WeHeartIt in Brazil.
WeHeartIt was founded by Fabio Giolito as a side project, Fabio.com/iheartit. He sent his concept of “hearting” photos and saving them in collections online to friends who also wanted to use the tool, and the company grew organically from there.
Today, WeHeartIt has 20 million monthly unique visitors with 1 million new users registering each month. Pageviews, like with Pinterest, are in the multiple billions.
Investors White Oak and IDG Ventures have given it an $8 million Series A round of financing and it recently moved its team of 15, everyone but its founder, from Brazil to San Francisco. Giolito is being held up by visa restrictions.
In addition, Rhapsody founding team member Ranah Edelin has joined as WeHeartIt’s CEO. Edelin says WeHeartIt may seem similar to Pinterest, but there are a few key differences.
For one, WeHeartIt isn’t against banner ads. It’s run a few basic units on its site although it’s more focused on gaining users at the moment than revenue. There are no ads on its mobile product, where two-thirds of is new users are coming from. It will also be looking at the native ad play books of companies like Tumblr to monetise.
The biggest difference, other than hearting versus pinning, is WeHeartIT’s core users. WeHeartIT users are younger than Pinterest’s. Its demographic is women under 24 where as Ben Silbermann’s company attracts middle-age women.
“Fabio built WeHeartIt around bookmarking, discovering and sharing beautiful images,” Edelin explains. “Pinterest’s roots are more around craft and do-it-yourself and organising things. We’re visual expression with a globally connected, more youthful audience.”
WeHeartIt will be using the money to handle server costs as the user base expands and to hire more people. Here’s what it looks like.