The ad-supported answering service ChaCha reports that it closed a $7 million E round of funding on Dec. 22, a move the company expects will allow it to reach profitability.
Since the company was founded four years ago, ChaCha has raised about $52 million from prominent tech leaders, venture capitalists and angel investors, including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, EDS/Perot Systems’ Morton Meyerson and Vanguard Ventures co-founder Jack Gill, among others.
Citing Nielsen Mobile, ChaCha says its text service passed Google in mobile text traffic in the third quarter of 2009. When ChaCha’s mobile service launched in January 2008, Google SMS had nearly 100 percent of the mobile text search market, but ChaCha says it now has more text traffic, which comes mostly from users under the age of 25.
ChaCha allows users to go online, call or text questions on mobile phones and receive answers for free by texting 242-242, visiting m.chacha.com, downloading ChaCha’s iPhone app or calling 1-800-2-ChaCha. Users also may ask questions via Twitter.
The company says it has provided a successful advertising venue for brands such as The CW Network, IKEA, Paramount Pictures, McDonald’s, Palm, Coca Cola, AT&T, J&J, P&G, Wal-Mart, Best Buy and others.
Last March, ChaCha announced it had closed a financing round of $12 million and planned to reduce headcount and pursue other cost-cutting measures. By November, Quantcast pegged ChaCha as the fastest growing Web site over the past six months, climbing more than 900 spots into the Top 100 U.S. Web sites.