The San Francisco-based company plans to use the money to expand its product globally, build out its mobile presence, and grow its current staff of 300-some employees, half of whom are full-time. Its first new hire with the new funding is Erik Zech, the executive who previously took Real Goods Solar public, who will serve as Pearl.com’s first-ever CFO.
Zech’s money management skills will be utilized with both the outside investment as well as the money that Pearl brings in from users. Pearl.com currently has top-line revenue of more than $100 million, founder and CEO Andy Kurtzig says. Users of Pearl pay money to ask for the opinions of professionals such as doctors, lawyers, electricians, mechanics, and the like. Question costs can range from $8 up to $80 or so, depending on the complexity and level of expertise required (a monthly subscription for unlimited questions is $49.) The company claims it now provides access to more than 10,000 professionals across 700 specialties.
It’s this business model that sets Pearl apart from competitors such as Avvo, which makes money by serving as an affiliate referral network for medical and legal professionals. Kurtzig says that since the professionals on Pearl.com are simply paid for answering questions through the site, their incentives are aligned completely with providing the best and quickest answer possible — not on encouraging people to come into their offices for a more in-depth consultation. It’s also clearly differentiated from sites such as Quora and Ask.com because of this personal, paid-content marketplace business model, Kurtzig says.
The new funding round was led by the company’s Series A investors including Glynn Capital and Charles Schwab along with new investor Crosslink Capital. It comes quickly on the heels of Pearl.com’s $25 million Series A announced this past summer. This brings the total investment in the company, which was originally founded in 2003, to more than $50 million.
We sat down with Pearl.com founder Andy Kurtzig to hear a bit more about how the company has grown over the years and why it is taking this hefty funding round right now. Watch the video above to hear him chat more about his company and its latest moves.
Pearl.com (formerly JustAnswer) is a website where people go to have an online conversation directly with a Doctor, Lawyer, Mechanic or any one of thousands of third-party, verified professionals, grouped into over 700 categories. Millions of people from around the world come to Pearl.com for affordable, fast answers. Experts typically provide answers within minutes. For more information about the company, please visit the top 200-ranked Pearl.com website or view real-time questions online now.