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Image source Pixhaus via Pinterest
The services look identical: if you know Pinterest, you know what Pinme.ru is about. Find stuff you love, and pin it all to one place to be found and admired. The images posted are so good I had to use one for this post. This one shows an old Russian church in Kizhi and was found on Pinterest (pinme.ru for some reason features a disproportionately large number of photos of seductively smiling models).
While I was mentoring at the mini Seedcamp yesterday, a question was raised whether or not one should offer services to a small number of customers for a high fee, or choose a low cost freemium model instead. It got me thinking about how much the Internet business has become less about barriers to entry because of the R&D cost, and more about the marketing, as replicating a good idea does not take much time or money, technologically speaking.
In its press release Fast Lane Ventures does not hide the fact, that the viral growth of Pinterest is the motivation behind creating Pinme.ru. Quite the opposite, it celebrates the fact that Pinterest has collected over 2 million “likes” on Facebook, and is 55th most visited website in the US (according to Alexa). For any businessman it is a solid indication of a positive return, and for a press it is a good reason to celebrate that a popular service is being launched in Russia. In both cases, why should anyone care that the original inventors of the idea are not behind it. At the end of the day, the light bulbs are not made by Edison, but we hardly ever call them clones.
Pinterest might be growing at a crazy pace, but once Rocket Internet and Fast Lane Ventures have spotted the opportunity, Pinterest can kiss German and Russian markets goodbye (or buy into them later). The speed of cloning also raises a question whether or not the investors will pour more money into the successful first movers earlier in their development. But one thing is clear: despite it comes across as a fool-proof execution business, Fast Lane Ventures does take a certain risk. At the end of the day, Pinterest does not seem to be making any money yet.
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