Reply, which gives you a form to fill out online and then goes out and tries to find what you’re looking for, has scored $17 million in venture backing from Silicon Valley investor BA Venture Partners.

The moolah flows easily these days if your company serves what the industry calls “consumers,” meaning Joe- and Jane-normal, like you and me — as opposed to businesses. Note that Jobster started selling to companies, but is releasing a “consumer” product shortly.

And thus the bucks keep getting pumped into start-ups here, Reply being based in Walnut Creek, just outside of the valley.

We haven’t talked with Reply, but it also appears to help both businesses and individuals. Reply wants to double its staff to 400 from 200 employees by this time next year, according to this VentureWire article (sub required).

According to VentureWire, this is how it works:

People shopping for cars, homes or insurance go to reply.com, fill out forms, and then later get contacted via phone or e-mail by one of Reply’s more than 13,000 customers. Reply makes money each time a customer finds a business through the Reply portal. The Internet users shopping for homes and cars are not charged anything. The company’s sales were about $20 million in 2004, and have grown at around 50% per year in each of the past three years…