IBJNews

ChaCha lands $20 million venture investment

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Carmel-based ChaCha Search has closed a $20 million round of financing to fund an expansion of its signature mobile service, the company said early Thursday.

The funding comes from new investors VantagePoint Venture Partners and Rho Ventures. Since its inception in December 2005, ChaCha has raised more than $50 million, including $7 million earlier this year from a venture capital fund.

ChaCha, which bills itself as “the No. 1 free real-time answers service,” allows wireless phone users to call in or text their questions to the company’s human guides. ChaCha makes money by embedding advertisements in the answers.

“Our new investors clearly recognize the value of our business, which helps advertisers ‘get into the conversation’ with ChaCha users who frequently ask their ‘smart friend’ questions about anything and everything,” CEO Scott Jones said in a prepared statement.

The company said it has answered nearly 1 billion questions in the past two years, reaching more than 15 million unique users every month through its mobile platforms and website. Experts expect about 13 billion questions to be posed industry-wide this year.

ChaCha said it is working on a multimedia messaging service that will deliver movie trailers, videos, coupons and ads to all phones—not just smart phones.

The company has about 60 employees in addition to 30,000-plus independent contractors who work as guides, earning 2 cents to 20 cents per task.

Big individual investors include Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos and Compaq Computer founder Ron Canion.

Canion is on ChaCha’s board, as are recognizable names such as Morton Meyerson, former chairman and CEO of Perot Systems, and former president of successor EDS.

The two new investors also will get seats on the board: Richard Harroch, managing director at VantagePoint Venture Partners, and Mark Leschly, a managing partner at Rho Ventures, will serve as directors.

VantagePoint, which has offices in Silicon Valley, Beijing and Hong Kong, funds “transformative companies” in the information technology, clean technology and heath care sectors. It has $4.5 billion of committed capital.

Rho Ventures has offices in Palo Alto, Calif., New York and Montreal. It has $2.5 billion under management and has experience in information technology, communications, new media, health care and energy technology.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. If what you stated is true, then this article is entirely inaccurate. "State sells bonds" is same as "State borrows money". Supposedly the company will "pay for them". But since we are paying the company, we are still paying for this road with borrowed money, even though the state has $2 billion in the bank.

  2. Andrew hit the nail on the head. AMTRAK provides terrible service and that is why the state has found a contractor to improve the service. More trips, on-time performance, better times, cleanliness and adequate or better restrooms. WI-FI and food service will also be provided. Transit from outlying areas will also be provided. I wouldn't take it the way it is but with the above services and marketing of the service,ridership will improve and more folks will explore Indy and may even want to move here.

  3. They could take the property using eminent domain and save money by not paying the church or building a soccer field and a new driveway. Ctrwd has monthly meetings open to all customers of the district. The meetings are listed and if the customers really cared that much they would show. Ctrwd works hard in every way they can to make sure the customer is put first. Overflows damage the surrounding environment and cost a lot of money every year. There have been many upgrades done through the years to help not send flow to Carmel. Even with the upgrades ctrwd cannot always keep up. I understand how a storage tank could be an eye sore, but has anyone thought to look at other lift stations or storage tanks. Most lift stations are right in the middle of neighborhoods. Some close to schools and soccer fields, and some right in back yards, or at least next to a back yard. We all have to work together to come up with a proper solution. The proposed solution by ctrwd is the best one offered so far.

  4. Fox has comments from several people that seem to have some inside information. I would refer to their website. Changed my whole opionion of this story.

  5. This place is great! I'm piggy backing and saying the Cobb salad is great. But the ribs are awesome. $6.49 for ribs and 2 sides?! They're delicious. If you work downtown, head over there.

ADVERTISEMENT