#NoPath4Me: Bakrie funding in Path leads to controversy on social media

Christine Siagian

Social media has been unkind to Path after Indonesian conglomerate Bakrie Global Group contributed to the US$25 million funding in the social networking app

Image for representation purpose only (Breaking Bad sticker in Path Shop)

A Series C funding of US$25 million led by Indonesian conglomerate Bakrie Global Group (BGG) in social networking app, Path, has not gone down well with many social media users. Since, the news of Path receiving the funding was out, Twitterati has resorted to  #NoPath4Me hashtag to show its displeasure.

Netizens are unhappy with Path accepting funding from Bakrie Global Group, which has been embroiled in a controversy related to a tragic incident of a gas-drilling project by its subsidiary PT Lapindo Brantas ending in disaster in Sidoarjo, East Java, in 2006. Rene Suhardono, social entrepreneur and Co-Founder of Happy5, an employee engagement app developer, tweeted: “Whoever is running #Path is making a blunder of taking in Bakrie.” The same was retweeted 51 times at the time of filing this story.

Another, Twitter user, Chris.Hs, who goes with the ‘christuiter; Twitter handle threatened to delete his Path account: “I will delete my @ path account as per January 12, 14 unless you sack your new investors.”

See more tweets here:

Social commentary website, malesbanget.com, posted a satirical article, “6 Things That Might Happen to Path Once Bakrie Group Joins”. The article mocked how Bakrie’s political ambitions will impact the future course of the app, ranging from changing the logo’s colour from ‘red’ to ‘yellow’ and the sticker market full of stickers of election candidates.

Read also: Indonesia not a copycat country in gaming: TouchTen CEO

What does the investment mean to Path
Besides BGG, existing investors including Greylock Partners, Kleiner Perkins, Index Ventures, Insight Venture Partners, Redpoint Venture Partners and First Round Capital too participated in the funding.

According to Dave Morin, CEO, Path, the latest investment enables the app to continue to focus on the pursuit of the company’s vision. The capital will be used to directly fuel the growth of our daily community, to continue to develop our revenue strategy, and to pursue breakthrough innovation. We will continue to focus our efforts on attracting a world class team inspired to build this vision together.”

Indonesia, reportedly, has about four million Path users contributing to one-third of Path’s monthly traffic.

In its commentary in DailySocial, the website highlighted what the funding means to both Path and BGG in Indonesia (Translating from Bahasa): The funding will breathe a news lease of life in Path, particularly in the wake of having sacked 20 per cent of its employees. Meanwhile, it will boost the image of the Bakrie family too, which has suffered after the tragic incident of 2006.

Read also: Who you build a company with is as important as what you’re working on

Meanwhile, Andi S Boediman, creative entrepreneur and Founder of Ideosource, a venture capital for digital businesses, wrote on medium.com, that Path has a big chance to grow in Indonesia. He wrote, “Keeping up with best practices from other social media players in Indonesia, such as Line, Viber, and Kakao, Path monetises itself through paid stickers. By getting strategic investment from Indonesia, it will be easier for Path to do partnership with local payment infrastructure to boosts sales.”

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