(Reuters) – Only about half of Twitter’s 200 million-plus registered members log on daily but the microblogging website is chalking up growth of 40% every quarter in mobile device usage, Chief Executive Dick Costolo said on Thursday.
Twitter, one of a coterie of Internet social networking services like Facebook and Google Inc.’s embryonic “Google+”, is gearing up for a hotly anticipated initial public offering. But Costolo told reporters they would do so only on their own terms.
“We want to be able to remain independent, grow the business the way we want to, and not be beholden to public markets until we feel like we want to be,” Costolo said at Twitter’s offices.
Twitter, which allows people to send 140-character text messages, or Tweets, to groups of so-called followers, is one of the Web’s most popular social networking services, along with Facebook and Zynga.
The website has grown into a social phenomenon employed by celebrities and politicians alike, hailed at times for promoting the free flow of global information.
Analysts have sought details however on how many of Twitter’s registered users are “active”, a key metric in determining its business potential.
Twitter.com now sees about 400 million unique visitors every month, a 60% leap from 200 million at the start of the year.
Twitter has raised an enormous amount of venture capital since its founding in 2007. CrunchBase reports that it has raised $760 million, including a reported $400 million round from Facebook investor Digital Sky Technologies (DST) this year. Thomson Reuters (publisher of peHUB), reports that Twitter raised $443 million prior to the DST investment, which would mean the company has raised over $840 million.
Besides DST, the company’s long list of venture backers includes Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark Capital
Institutional Venture Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Twitter’s earliest backers were Union Square Ventures, Spark Capital and Bezos Expeditions (an investment fund run by Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos), according to Thomson Reuters.
By Alexei Oreskovic, Reuters
Additonal reporting by Lawrence Aragon, peHUB