Mobile

Opinionaided answers 2M questions, bringing decision-making instant gratification

Decision-making app Opinionaided announced today it has helped answer 2 million questions and raised $4.3 million.

The investment will help it continue to answer life’s pressing questions, from “If everything was free, would the world be a better place?” to “Do these pants make my butt look big?”

This is the startup’s first round of institutional funding, and it was led by Softbank Capital and BlueRun Ventures.

We modern consumers like fast things: fast food, fast Internet, fast replies. Because of current technology, instant gratification is a part of our lives. Now, our questions can be answered as quickly as if they were asked in person.

Using Opinionaided is fairly simple. There are three ways to answer questions: thumbs ups, thumbs downs and neutral, with the option to leave a comment. When a comment is left, you open a closed channel for the questioner to reply.

Asking questions is easy as well. You enter your question in the text box and choose a category for that question to fall under.  Then, you add a picture by choosing from a photo search, picking an image from an existing photo library or taking a picture inside the app itself.

“What we built the app for originally was for people who needed to make point-of-purchase decisions,” chief executive Dan Kurani told VentureBeat.

Now the company is seeing a mix of what Kurani calls social and utility questions. Utility questions are structured more for point of purchase. For example, “How do these jeans fit?” queries help make a decision.

Social questions are broader, e.g., “Do you think aliens created the world?”

Q&A services like Yahoo Answers and Quora have already shown their strengths. It seems the mobile Q&A industry is up for grabs, however, and Opinionaided is seeing actual traction. We asked the question, “Do you like to read tech pubs?” 15 minutes ago and already have 42 responses. Kurani says that users on average receive 75 answers.

The company uses mobile analytics company Flurry to watch interactions and events in the product.

My first reaction was that this could be a good sourcing tool for research. Kurani then explained the app actually separates you based on age. This may be beneficial for the teenager who only really wants her peers to weigh in on her latest haircut, but it doesn’t provide a good cross section otherwise.

Kurani says to combat this, Opinionaided will soon be reintroducing the option to pose questions to a variety of age groups, as well as by location.

There’s also the possibility that this could become just another “hot or not” app. Upon opening the app, I was prompted to answer, “Is Taylor Swift hot?”

“Obviously there are images, it’s very easy to respond, so it’s likely people will use this for that kind of purpose,” said Kurani.

But Opinionaided has headed off the “hot or not” crowd by sectioning questions into categories. The “appearance” category was created specifically for this purpose. You can uncheck categories to eliminate those questions from your feed.

The app’s popularity earned it $4.3 million, and the Opinionaided team will use it to extend offerings to Android. It sees an opportunity to dominate the mobile Q&A space, though it does see Twitter as a competitor for real-time answering.

Currently Twitter does not offer a comprehensive page to view and analyze replies to posed questions. Given the real-time urgency associated with Twitter, it makes sense that  Opinionaided has an eye on it.

Opinionaided is located in New York and New Jersey and has 12 employees. The company has raised $5.5 million in total from SoftBank Capital, BlueRun Ventures, General Catalyst, Draper Fisher Jurveston, DreamIt Ventures’ Mark Wachen, Jonah Goodhart, Karl Jacob, ENIAC Ventures and Vince Monical.


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