Social app developer Path raised more than US$30 million, in a funding round that is reported to value the company at around US$250 million.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the intention is to use the cash to build Path’s staffing, and to spend on marketing and product development. AllThingsD said the funds will be used to fuel international growth and to drive user adoption.

The service, which is intended to drive interaction among smaller groups than rivals such as Facebook, apparently has nearly 3 million users, with around 500,000 using it multiple times per day.

Path has not previously been focused on revenue growth, although it was suggested a “premium” app will be launched in the future – it is not clear how this will differ from the standard version.

The round was led by Redpoint Ventures, and included Greylock Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Buyers, Index Ventures, and individuals including Richard Branson and Zynga founder Mark Pincus.

Path was widely identified as a potential acquisition candidate following Facebook’s US$1 billion acquisition of Instagram last week – GigaOM reported that Google and Facebook had both looked at the company, with a potential price tag of up to US$200 million.

The company has not always had a smooth ride, however, and earlier this year it sparked a privacy debate which subsequently grew to include tier-one apps such as Facebook, Foursquare, Gowalla and Twitter.

It announced an update to its app to improve its security credentials earlier this month.