Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it’s what keeps ChaCha chugging along. This human powered Q&A service, in which humans answer other humans’ questions in real time, has raised a new round of $14 million.
ChaCha was founded in 2006 with the simple mission of answering peoples’ questions accurately, relevantly, and quickly. While some queries like “good restaurants in San Francisco” lend themselves to search engines like Google or Bing, others require that human touch. ChaCha combines algorithms with crowdsourcing to generate answers.
When someone asks a question on ChaCha, the technology checks its database, which contains 129 million questions/answers, to see if the question has been asked before. If so, it sends that answer back instantly. If not, the question goes out to members of the community and returned to the asker as quickly as possible.
“All the big players in digital media, e.g. Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc…, have tried and failed to achieve ‘answering people’s questions,’” said CEO Scott Jones. ”All the world’s consumers of information could significantly benefit from any company that makes major strides in the domain of real-time Q&A. I wanted to be able to ‘ask a smart friend’ instantly about anything. ChaCha is on a journey to fulfilling that mission.”
The service is free and has answered over 2 billion questions for over 45 million people through the web, mobile, text message and voice service. This is its seventh round of institutional funding, with investment from VantagePoint Capital artiness, Rho Ventures, and Qualcomm. Previous investors include Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Morton Meyerson. ChaCha has raised a total of $82 million to date.