Social network Path gets $30m in funding


2 May 2011
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SAN FRANCISCO: Social-network Path lined up more than $30 million in venture funding from Redpoint Ventures and others, illustrating investors' increasing willingness to pour money into variations on the basic theme of online networking.

The company said it would use the proceeds to build growth, including internationally. While Path has generated a lot of buzz, its user adoption has lagged some other hot start-ups , including photo-sharing service Instagram. That company had more than 4 million users just months after launching in 2010 and sold to Facebook for $1 billion earlier this month.

Path, some 17 months after launch, has over two million users, according to its website. But like Instagram, Path is oriented toward the mobile-phone user, a popular theme in venture investing as consumers spend more time using their phones. In part because it was founded by Facebook alumnus Dave Morin, it is one of Silicon Valley's most talked-about companies.

Other start-ups that emphasize the networking theme include BranchOut, a LinkedIn-like professional network that runs on the Facebook platform; UpTo, a calendar-based network; Erly. com, an experience-based network; Pinterest, an image-based network; and Pinwheel, a network built around places. Redpoint, an investor in BranchOut and Pinwheel, led the investment round, which is fairly substantial for a company at Path's level of development.

Just over a year ago, Path raised $8.65 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Index Funds, and others. Path limits users to networks of just 150 people, which Morin has said is more in line with the number of meaningful friendships people have in real life.

A limited network is seen as fostering more open dialog compared to a site where more people may see a user's posts and interactions.

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