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. Those of you yelling to deport them all should at least understand that the law allows minors (if not from a bordering country) to argue for asylum. If you don't like the law, you can petition Congress to change it. But you can't blindly scream that they all need to be deported now, unless you want your government to just decide which laws to follow and which to ignore.

  2. 52,000 children in a country with a population of nearly 300 million is decimal dust or a nano-amount of people that can be easily absorbed. In addition, the flow of children from central American countries is decreasing. BL - the country can easily absorb these children while at the same time trying to discourage more children from coming. There is tension between economic concerns and the values of Judeo-Christian believers. But, I cannot see how the economic argument can stand up against the values of the believers, which most people in this country espouse (but perhaps don't practice). The Governor, who is an alleged religious man and a family man, seems to favor the economic argument; I do not see how his position is tenable under the circumstances. Yes, this is a complicated situation made worse by politics but....these are helpless children without parents and many want to simply "ship" them back to who knows where. Where are our Hoosier hearts? I thought the term Hoosier was synonymous with hospitable.

  3. Illegal aliens. Not undocumented workers (too young anyway). I note that this article never uses the word illegal and calls them immigrants. Being married to a naturalized citizen, these people are criminals and need to be deported as soon as humanly possible. The border needs to be closed NOW.

  4. Send them back NOW.

  5. deport now

ADVERTISEMENT