Okay, someone must have made the joke.
Announced today, private social network, Path, revealed that it has raised $40 million in funds in their series B round, that includes great investors like Greylock Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Index Ventures, and other notable individuals like Zynga’s Mark Pincus, Yuri Milner, Jerry Murdock, and Sir Richard Branson. All Things D reported the funding report last night and stated that the $40 million round was led by Redpoint Ventures. This investment by some of the Valley’s most noted and prestigious firms is a clear indication that there’s definitely a great deal of interest in watching Path succeed. In a statement, Path CEO, Dave Morin, referenced that the investors’ commitment to building Path was “for the long term”.
When asked what the $40 million would be used for, Mr. Morin stated that it would be used to help fund “international growth and expansion as well as user adoption.” As it appears, Path is looking to quickly grow its existing offerings while also funding ways to get more users. At last count, it seemed that the service had over 300,000 users on a network where the pride and joy rested on the fact that a user could only have 150 friends and thus make their social media experience more intimate. So it would seem that after their relaunch, Path has finally found the momentum it needs to be a success.
But how much has the Facebook acquisition of Instagram weighed on Mr. Morin and his team? After amassing a network of over 30 million users in just under a year and going to the world’s largest social network for a cool $1 billion, there are some folks who believe that Path could be the next to go. After all, it’s probably the closest thing to Instagram, complete with its own version of a network, filters for photos taken through the app, and more. CNN Money believes that Path could go the same way as Instagram and get acquired by Facebook. Why? Probably because of a report by Business Insider that said that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is “afraid” of Path and also that since the social network is interested in building a pretty solid mobile presence, having Instagram and potentially Path could make for a valuable combination.
Now just wait a minute…let’s not jump the gun, at least not yet. In a interesting opinion piece, Om Malik wrote that Path is nothing like Instagram–the comparisons are unfounded and premature, he says. Path is still very limited, and apparently it is by choice, both in how many friends you can have in your account and on its design. In addition, like Facebook, Path will only share your information once the other party has done the same–Instagram does not have this reciprocity factor. You can follow anyone you want without them needing to do the same, thus the basis for what Mr. Malik believes to be one of the leading factors in Instagram’s explosive usage. He thinks that Path’s biggest challenge is “capturing mainstream mindshare”. And he’s exactly right.
So with their new-found $40 million in the bank, what Path can do is potentially work on some new marketing strategies to get people to use their app. Maybe new features or functionality that will work across multiple platforms will be in the works? Who knows…but what might be really interesting is if Path found a way to exploit or take advantage of the cries of pain some people are having over Instagram being bought by Facebook and working on a way to convert them into actual Path users. With the service being described as either a “mobile personal network” or, as Redpoint Venture’s Satish Dharmaraj calls “a private mobile-focused social network”, ex-Instagram users may find it more appealing now that their beloved app has gone to the way of Facebook. Adding new filters and making it even more intimate is probably what will get them interested.
What would you like to see out of Path now that they have a little bit of cash to burn?
Photo Credit: Path founder, Dave Morin, on stage with PandoDaily’s Sarah Lacy at the March edition of PandoMonthly via Ken Yeung/Flickr