How Path has got investors excited
Following Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram for $1 billion, as discussed in a previous blog, investors are tripping over themselves to identify and invest in the next big social media development. Among all the different social media sites and applications, two have stood out as being worthy of interest – Fancy and Path. Fancy, a Pinterest clone with direct links to where users can purchase the items they have viewed, has secured $18 million from Marc Andreessen, Ben Horowitz, General Catalyst, Allen & Co. and PPR, the owner of a number of high-end brands including Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent brands. However much more interesting is Path, a social network available only through an app on a smartphone, which is considered by many investors as having great possibilities and with the likes of Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson exhaling its virtues.
Ahead of rumoured interest that both Google and Facebook wanted to buy the company for a price ranging between $100 million to $200 million, Path has secured “more than $30 million” in new investment in its Series B round of funding from numerous investment bodies including Redpoint Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Yuri Milner and Sir Richard Branson, giving the company a $250 million valuation. Commenting publicly on the investment, Richard declared “The reason I am interested in Path is because it is a beautiful looking site for people who really want to stay in touch with family and friends. It has become very popular with those who want a slightly more intimate social network. Dave Morin, the Co-Founder and CEO of Path is one of the geniuses who helped set up Facebook in the early days.”
So what is it about Path that got investors so excited? The answer is very simple – intimacy. Path identified that with many social media users having thousands of friends or followers to their accounts, it meant that the social network was no longer a form for sharing private thoughts. So they created a place where users only have a maximum of 150 followers or friends (a number that Path believes is the average number of true friends a person has in life) to ensure that only the most important people to the user can share in their thoughts. By combining it with an impeccably designed layout filled with stylish and intuitive detail that is always conveniently available in your pocket all the time, Path have created the first truly personal network that allows people to express themselves to their family and friends in ways they can’t, or wouldn’t, do anywhere else.
Path is an exciting development but for now it still has much work to do to make the site more accessible; as it’s only available via mobile app and so users can’t go online to access their account. Additionally the photo and video sharing functionality needs some work as users are unable to edit visual content and only the iPhone allows the application of filters to photos and the posting of videos; but all of these are minor issues that can be easily remedied.
While Path is still very small with just 3 million members compared to Instagram’s 30 million members, I anticipate exciting times ahead for Path and it won’t be long before it becomes a mega social media site.