Startup general interest

Pinterest – a case study in capital efficiency

By May 22, 2012 November 26th, 2012 6 Comments

Pinterest is an awe inspiring example of how much can be achieved with minimal investment in tech and people these days. As most of you will know, the enablers are cloud computing and open source software. What is interesting in this case is the power of those enablers.

I just read the following numbers on the High Scalability blog. Pinterest now supports 18m users with growth running at 50% per month with the following:

  • Amazon costs are around $39k for S3 and $30k for EC2 (I assume per month)
  • Traffic costs them $52 an hour during peak times, down to $15 during the night
  • They have 31 employees, up from 12 in December.

The geeks amongst you will be interested in the following details:

  • Pinterest has 80 million objects stored in S3 with 410 terabytes of data
  • They have 275 EC2 instances
  • 70 master databases
  • Written in Python and Django

This is an amazing story, but it isn’t unique. Instagram had similar efficiencies, and we will see more and more startups aspire to and beat these benchmarks and try to emulate Instagram’s $1bn exit or Pinterest’s $1.5bn valuation.