A widely followed Pinterest influencer has filed a lawsuit against the company and its billionaire cofounders, saying she helped start the business but was cut out of any financial rewards.
Christine Martinez, a former Walmart executive turned online personality, says she counseled Pinterest founders Ben Silbermann and Paul Sciarra as they initially worked on the firm around its start in 2008. According to the lawsuit, Martinez advised the pair on many aspects different aspects of the company, including its signature visual-bookmarking feature and the ability to create collections of images called “boards,” and helped find influencers who would promote the site. She originally met Silbermann through her husband, who had lived with Silbermann while studying at Yale.
Martinez says she never had anything in writing about her status as a cofounder but expected to be compensated similar to Silbermann, Sciarra and a third cofounder, Evan Sharp. Silbermann remains Pinterest’s CEO, and Sharp works there still as its chief design & creative officer; both hold billion-dollar stakes in the company today. Sciarra left Pinterest within a few years of its founding.
Pinterest did not immediately respond to a request for comment.