Investors will probably need to post a question about a business model after Quora secured an additional round of $80 million in funding. With no revenue, the company is valued at $900 million. Get a little more splashy and they could IPO the thing for even more. Wall Street loves momentum stocks with little to no revenue these days.
The idea behind the funding is to pad the company’s bank account as it seeks to remain an independent company. Founded back in 2009 by former Facebook engineers, the company is a question-answer site with over 500,000 topics. It is actually one of the more in-depth sites if you are looking for solid commentary on questions.
Quora achieves the quality threshold by pushing people to identify themselves in the answers. That helps keep ignorant answers at bay, and in turn the threads turn into something you actually want to read.
The company is set to embrace advertising at some point, and it seems ripe for a native advertising push. Sponsored questions from companies would be a solid avenue of pursuit if they decided to go that route.
Speaking to CNET, Marc Bodnick, Quora’s head of business operations said the funding is essentially their insurance policy. “This capital will allow us to make sure we are permanent as a company, as a library, as a product,” Bodnick said. “We want to be an independent company for the long term, and not be acquired, so this capital is basically insurance that allows us to build the best possible product.”
I’m not so sure about the acquired part. Plenty of top-tier tech stocks have been rather free with money as of late. Dangling a number Quora can’t refuse doesn’t seem out the realm of possibilities.
The company has said the money will allow them to expand the business internationally. It wants to start adopting other languages. Currently, the site and app are in English.
As a private company, Quora is reluctant to answer questions about traffic and user metrics. Bodnick says the company receives hundreds of millions of views per month, with 40 percent coming via its mobile app.
There is no way to confirm the numbers, so we are left with third-party estimations. According to Nielsen, the site received nearly 2 million unique visits in January. Visitors spent an average of 13 minutes on the site, an engagement number most sites would beg for.
Total funding for the company now stands at $140 million with a valuation of $900 million. All they need now is revenue and they can secure their dream as an independent company.
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