Path, the private social network, said it had finally closed a $25 million Series C round, adding a new investor, Indonesia’s Bakrie Global Group.
I had been pummeling founder and CEO Dave Morin for weeks about the closing of the latest funding, which I had heard was near completion and also included an international investor.
Late this afternoon, he finally cried uncle, um, confirmed the deal, noting that completing the transaction “was on the more difficult side, after a challenging 2013.”
Still, Morin said it was an up round from Path’s last investment in 2012 of just over $30 million, in which the San Francisco company was valued at $250 million, although he would not give a specific number.
Existing investors also participated in the funding, including Greylock Partners, Kleiner Perkins, Index Ventures, Insight Venture Partners, Redpoint Venture Partners and First Round Capital.
“We are excited to participate in Path’s growth moving forward,” said Bakrie CEO Anindya Bakrie, in a statement. “With solid management team and relevant development plan, Path will continue to connect more Indonesians in a personal, meaningful and productive way.”
This new money brings the total investment in Path to about $65 million. Path also raised $10 million in 2011.
In an interview, Morin said that he talked to many U.S. investors in the latest fundraising. But he noted that he was always looking for a strategic one in Asia, especially in Southeast Asia, where he said Path had good traction. “Our business there is stronger than people understand,” he said. “I was both looking to understand that market and find a local partner to expand our operations.”
Among Indonesia’s most powerful, Bakrie’s companies — which include mining, drilling, telecom and development — are quite controversial, including figuring in a horrible mudslide disaster several years ago related to its gas drilling. Due to this and other serious allegations around its businesses, Bakrie is a polarizing figure there, as evidenced by this Jakarta Post piece from a year ago.
Whether this affiliation with help or hurt Path in Indonesia is unclear, although Twitter last night lit up with comments from the country.
Many were negative, such as this one:
And this one:
In any case, Morin said the process started in the middle of last year, which was a tough one for Path, as it faced some thorny issues over its growth, some talent departures and also layoffs.
He said Path will use the new funds for growth and engagement, as well as continuing to expand its revenue efforts. In the last year, it rolled out a virtual goods business and subscription offering. The company is also developing the fourth version of the service, said Morin.
As to its growth, he said Path was not ever going to be a red-hot rocket like Snapchat, the ephemeral-photo and video site. “We have been more of a turtle than a hare and we have always focused on being a better way to connect and share,” Morin said, noting that its early 2013 effort at a “higher risk” growth strategy did not work well. “We are aimed at some people, not all people.”
Still, Morin acknowledged that “we have had some challenges in the U.S. market that we need to focus on.” He said that Path currently has 23 million customers registered worldwide, but the company has not released more detailed usage figures as yet.
As to the recent departures of some key execs like Matt Van Horn, Path’s well-known business development VP, Morin said that such change was natural for a startup and pointed to new hires such as engineering head Kallol Das from Salesforce.com and Kim Jabal, a former Google exec, as CFO.
“We’re a maturing business, but still a kid,” he said. “But I think we have grown up a lot over the last year and learned a lot of lessons, even though they were not necessarily easy ones.”
Here’s a recent video that Path put out, with some very twinkly music: