Eight-year old JustAnswer.com, which bills itself as a Quora competitor (but looked decidedly less hip), is announcing a rebranding and a new infusion of capital today. The site is becoming Pearl.com, which offers a new front-end to its Q&A service which is now focused on connecting site visitors with vetted professionals. Users will be able to ask questions aimed directly at those who work in particular industries – e.g., you can ask a doctor, a mechanic, a I.T. professional, a lawyer, etc. – for help.
In addition, the company is announcing it has closed a $25 million Series A round of funding, which includes investors Charles Schwab (the man himself) and Glynn Capital. Schwab has also joined the company’s board.
JustAnswer-now-Pearl has been flying under the radar, and today has over 10.5 million unique monthly visitors (vs. Quora’s 760,000, for example). It’s generating over $100 million in annual revenue. Since 2008, Pearl’s revenues grew 123% year-over-year. It’s operational in 196 countries, 22 currencies and 4 languages. The company has 140 full-time employees, 10,000 verified experts to answer questions across 700 categories. And it’s still growing.
Today, users submit 250,000 questions per month – and, here’s another big difference between Pearl and Quora – users pay to have those questions answered. You can pay more to have urgent questions answered quickly, too. Prices start at $15, but vary by profession. The average cost per question is around $30. Memberships for unlimited questions are also available. The company says the average response time for questions is 7.5 minutes.
Founder Andy Kurtzig says he was inspired to start the site as a way for his then-pregnant wife to speak to a doctor online. Now, the goal is to become an “Amazon for professional services,” meaning a one-stop-shop for people to consult with any professional of any sort at any time.
Both sites (JustAnswer and Pearl) are currently up and running, but the future is with Pearl, available here.