After a year on hiatus, Biz Stone is restarting active development of the social Q&A app Jelly he originally launched in January 2014. Stone, one of Twitter’s founders, paused Jelly in November 2014 to focus on a whimsical opinion sharing app called Super. “For anyone who remembers Jelly, yes, we took a break but we’re back 100%. Silicon Valley types might call this an, ‘un-pivot'” Stone writes.
But Stone believes the problem still isn’t solved, and so now the Jelly team is back at work. Jelly is in closed beta preparing for a proper relaunch which Stone says will happen “soon”. You can go to Jelly now to reserve your user name. Stone writes that “we’re putting some finishing touches on the service and fixing some bugs” so it doesn’t sound like we’ll have to wait too long.
As for the fate of Super, Stone tells me “We’re keeping Super alive. The folks on Super really love it. As long as that remains a happy, thriving network, I don’t see any reason to take it down. We’re proud of having built a very unique social networking service that continues to grow organically.”
Jelly’s premise was that people know how to answer each other’s questions better than search engines, especially on mobile. You could ask a question on Jelly, and the app would send it directly to friends and stranger who it suspects would know the answer based on their interests and past app activity. The example use case often dealt with images, like a user asking “what building is this?” and savvy locals coming to their rescue.
In his unpivot announcement, Stone writes:
“Back in the day, folks would turn to friends with questions. Then came the web and search engines…Increasingly, people are asking on social media (which can sometimes be awkward). We think there is another way to get high quality answers without sifting through an ocean of ‘results.’
Jelly is different because we get you straight to the answers. Not only that, you get answers from actual humans. Our algorithm doesn’t search the web for relevant documents, it finds a person who’s, “been there, done that” and signed up to Jelly because they want to help.”
Jelly raised a Series A from Spark Capital, SV Angel, Jack Dorsey and more back in March 2013, then a Series B led by Josh Elman of Greylock in January 2014. Both round sizes were undisclosed. We’ll see if Jelly can fight the good fight for empathy-based Q&A with its existing cash, as Stone tells me “We’ve stayed quite lean so we still have plenty of money in the bank. We wanna hire some key folks to build this version of Jelly out substantially. Everyone is very excited over here. (There’s only eight of us.)”
Jelly has a tough road ahead, though. Quora has a strong hold on the social Q&A space, though it’s a bit more stately and longwinded than Jelly aims to be. Meanwhile, ever present social media creates an appealing place to toss out questions in hopes of assistance. And Googling is so deeply routed into our behavior that it’s hard for Jelly to change our ways.