Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

JustAnswer Becomes Pearl, Comes Out From Under the Radar

JustAnswer is an eight-year-old site with 40 million monthly global unique visitors, an annual run rate of $100 million, $25 million in new funding and a 150-person team based in San Francisco.

Pearl CEO Andy Kurtzig

Haven’t heard of it? That’s at least partly by design, but now the company is looking for some attention — and to break away from the rest of the Q&A pack — by calling itself

Pearl has 10,000 vetted experts on hand to help answer its users’ questions for a fee. For an average of $30, users can find a lawyer, mechanic, doctor or another professional to discuss whatever problem they are having. Then, after a few weeks, the archives are posted online anonymously for other people to see.

The average response time is 7.5 minutes. The site gets 250,000 questions per month, and each Pearl transaction comes with a money-back guarantee if users don’t think the advice is good.

Pearl CEO Andy Kurtzig told me that his site provides “real professional help,” but it also is built to comply with the “protectionist restrictions” around the legal implications of doctors and lawyers giving advice.
He had bootstrapped the company until now, when all the hype about Quora and other sites finally got him out of his shell.

Pearl has affiliate deals with Dr. Phil, Judge Judy and “Car Talk” to offer question boxes on each of their sites. It also recently built an API and will soon release mobile apps, Kurtzig said.

Pearl just raised $25 million in Series A funding from investors such as Glynn Capital and Charles Schwab (the person, not the company; “Chuck” is on the Pearl board, too).

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik