We Heart It is a photo-networking site similar to Pinterest or Tumblr where users are encouraged to post inspirational and artsy photos that other people can follow or ‘heart’.
Founded by former Yahoo graphic designer Fabio Giolito a full two years before Pinterest even existed, We Heart It has experienced a slow but steady surge in interest. It became a full-fledged business in 2011, and today, the site is seeing more than one million new members sign up every month.
The site has quietly acquired more than 20 million monthly users with little advertising, but caught the attention of investors including White Oak and IDG Ventures, who’ve decided to back the website to the tune of $8 million.
At the time, We Heart It wasn’t seeking out investors, said company CEO Ranah Edelin in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
Investors were drawn to We Heart It’s vision of connecting users through their motivational and inspirational photographs.
“We view ourselves as firmly part of the new social ecosystem that’s focused on the visual web,” Edelin said, adding that with the addition of Smartphones and tablets, “it’s so easy to create images as well as consume them.”
According to an article by Tech Crunch, We Heart It’s members consist of mostly a female audience aged 24 and under, who are spending an average of 16.5 minutes on the site every day, and accessing it via their mobile device at least 25 days a month.
Even with a comfortable sum of money in the bank, the We Heart It development team plans to keep things simple for now, focusing on improving the user experience and attracting new members, Edelin said.