Mobile question-and-answer company Opinionaided on Thursday announced a $4.3 million Series A round of funding led by SoftBank Capital and BlueRun Ventures.
The company will use the funds as it grows its service, which currently targets iOS devices. Its community of users has delivered 125 million responses to questions since launch last year. Opinionaided says the average user spends nearly three hours per month in its app.
Unlike a standard fact-based Q&A service, Opinionaided, as the name denotes, is about getting opinions and advice, either from people known or unknown to the user. There’s a series of filters users can select in the mobile app to target groups to which they want to pose questions.
There is a website version, but 90 percent of the traffic is done on iPhone and iPod, according to co-founder and CEO Dan Kurani.
Kurani’s company, Kurani Interactive, began incubating Opinionaided a few years ago with the goal of helping people get quick opinions in real time while they were shopping. It’s grown to where people are asking questions about a range of things, not necessarily related to shopping. People get on average 75 responses to every question.
Kurani doesn’t have a set time for the release of the Android version, but he says it’s coming in the near future. They’re keeping an eye on Windows Phone 7, which is likely to be the next OS up for development after they release the Android app. (BlueRun Ventures formerly was known as Nokia Venture Partners before a name change in 2005.)
While Opinionaided doesn’t have a lot of direct competition, executives there are paying close attention to what Facebook is doing with its Q&A platform, as well as what Twitter is up to. Google+ doesn’t seem to be an issue as of now.
How does the company plan to make money? Kurani says there are clear plans for that, but he isn’t ready to go into detail. Right now, he says the focus is on establishing itself in the consumer space. (One can venture some guesses, however, as to how brands or businesses might leverage an opinion-generating service.)
Along with the funding, the company announced version 3.1 of its iOS app, enabling users to send questions to anyone, even outside of the Opinionaided community, using SMS, Twitter and Facebook. The updated version also includes new features designed to elevate the user experience, such as with comprehensive bios, online image search and overall improved content targeting.
“We feel pretty fortunate” given the macro environment to have secured this latest round of funding, Kurani says. There was a fair amount of interest from people who heard about the company through the seed round.In fact, the latest round includes participation or conversion by all original seed round investors, including venture capital firms General Catalyst and Draper Fisher Jurvetson, as well as a group of angel investors that include DreamIt Ventures’ Mark Wachen, Jonah Goodhart of Point Ventures Group, Facebook advisor and Path investor Karl Jacob, ENIAC Ventures and Vince Monical, former head of emerging platforms at Google, among others.
The board of directors now includes industry veteran Karl Jacob, whose early Q&A company Keen was bought by AT&T, as well as Jay Jamison, venture partner at BlueRun, and Joe Medved, partner at SoftBank Capital.