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path-screenshotPath, a startup with an unusual take on mobile photo sharing, just announced that it has raised $8.65 million in its first round of institutional funding.

Path was co-founded by Napster creator Shawn Fanning, former Facebook executive Dave Morin, and Dustin Mierau, so it’s no surprise that the company enlisted high-profile backers — prestigious venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (which has been making a big push to invest in social networking startups) and Index Ventures.

San Francisco-based Path calls its iOS app a “personal network”, because it’s supposed to help you interact with you family members and close friends, not the looser connections found on Facebook. (In fact, you can’t include more than 50 people in your network.) Path allows you to share photos and videos, then see who’s looking at a photo at a given moment, and also signal how a photo makes you feel.

In addition to announcing the funding, Path also said that more than 2 million moments (read: photos and videos) have been shared on the app. And it’s unveiling a feature that makes it possible to share content with friends who don’t have the Path app — you email your connections directly through.

Path previously raised $2.5 million from Index, First Round Capital, Founders Fund, and a number of angel investors. Kleiner’s Chi-Hua Chien and an Index’s Mike Volpi are joining Path’s board of directors, as is Mierau (previously the board was just Morin and Fanning).


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