Got It has a new use for artificial intelligence. The startup uses AI to find human experts who can help with complex problems. Got It calls this on-demand knowledge-as-a-service (KaaS).

The platform helps professionals, learners, and consumers quickly and affordably get personalized, interactive solutions to their questions. You can think of it as a Google search, but one that is so complex that you really have to find an expert for it. Got It matches a user with an ExpertRank, an expert who has bid in a real-time auction to solve the user’s problem in a one-on-one chat session within a fixed time period, with a service guarantee.

The Burlingame, Calif.-based company is the brainchild of Hung Tran and Peter Relan. Relan is a well-known entrepreneur whose YouWeb incubator helped spawn startups such as mobile gaming companies OpenFeint and CrowdStar. He also helped Discord, the popular game chat platform, get off the ground.

“It’s a platform that delivers knowledge-as-a-service,” Relan said in an interview with VentureBeat. “When you have a problem, you can turn to Got It to get help. We spin up a human expert in a matter of seconds to help you, with a guarantee and a set amount of time and a well-defined price.”

Relan said that Got It uses AI to find the right human expert in real time. Got It can compute what it calls ExpertRank through advanced machine learning algorithms that continuously classify each expert’s knowledge-time sessions based on numerous ranking factors. Knowledge-time units are sessions of fixed length, for example 10-minute sessions or 20-minute sessions, based on the topic.

“IaaS made IT operations folks more productive, and PaaS made app developers more productive, but KaaS platforms will make every human being more productive,” said Praful Shah, a veteran SaaS industry executive for companies like WebEx and RingCentral, in a statement. “Knowledge is one of the most highly valued but inefficiently utilized global resources. A KaaS platform combined with human experts ranked using AI can dramatically improve productivity for everyone.”

Text chat sessions provide an incredible amount of info to an AI engine that tries to understand the session. A chat session can be analyzed by machine learning and classified to help provide the inputs for an ExpertRank. And that helps organize the brainpower out there and find which is most relevant to your question — just like Page Rank organized the most relevant content out there for Google searches.

“It has some inspiration from Page Rank, but it is a unique solution,” Relan said.

But a Google search isn’t really competition for Got It, since Google’s search engine isn’t focused on your specific problem, instead returning generic results to a search query that you type, he said.

“If you search about spreadsheets, you get a Google search answer,” Relan said. “But if you ask, ‘my pivot table isn’t working when I have 200 rows of data’, Google isn’t going to help you with your sheet.”

Above: Got It cofounders Hung Tran (left) and Peter Relan.

Image Credit: Got It

More than 250,000 people have applied to work through the service, and 25,000 have been given expert status, Relan said. Those “experts” will be able to monetize their expertise through bite-sized knowledge-time sessions.

Got It launched two services on its KaaS platform: Got It Pro provides on-demand business help with Excel and Google Sheets for professionals in 20-minute units of $4 to $6; while Got It Study offers on-demand science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) help for college-bound, college, and continuing education learners in 10-minute units for $1 to $4.

Got It’s KaaS platform has already hosted 2.5 million sessions, with 90 percent earning four- or five-star user ratings. The company will add more topics to Got It Pro over time and will allow partners to launch services for top consumer-audience categories on its KaaS platform.

“Got It is transforming the world of human learning, problem solving, and knowledge sharing,” said Tran, in a statement. “Our proprietary machine learning algorithm is the AI heart of the platform: It uses a number of intrinsic capability measures and external indicators of capability to calculate ExpertRank to organize the world’s brainpower. Plus, our AI auditing capabilities enable a full understanding of the conversation between the user and the expert — providing an enormous training set for our soon-to-be-released chatbots.”

Got It has more than 1.5 million users on iOS and 300,000 on Android. On average, they ask two questions per week. About 25 percent of the users request support in the middle of the night, and more than 80 percent of questions happen during the workweek.

Spun out from Peter Relan’s YouWeb incubator and backed by a $9 million round from the Capricorn Investment Group and Fosun, Got It is led by a team headquartered in Silicon Valley with an R&D group in Vietnam. The company has about 40 employees.