Bitwine, a service launched in late 2006 that lets people ask questions to experts for a fee. Originally the service was tethered to Skype; more recently it began letting users connect to experts via Skype, other VoIP service, or normal phone lines. Experts can charge their clients either by the minute or a simple flat fee. Clients pay by PayPal and the money gets sent to experts as soon as the sessions end. The service is also available as a white label product.
Monster Venture Partners will announce tomorrow that they have acquired a controlling interest in the startup, and are replacing CEO Elad Baron with a former Expedia Exec, Ronnie Gurion (Baron will remain on as President and CTO). The acquisition price was not disclosed; Bitwine had previously raised $1.5 million in a round of financing from Crossbar Capital.
MVP says Bitwine will power online consultation features that are in development across several other portfolio companies, including Questions.com, Careers.org, Patents.com, Traveler.com and Slideshow.com.