For the rest of the world, it may have been a very cold winter, but for Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup Quora, it has been a scorching hot few weeks. Thanks to relentless media attention, the company started by Facebook alumni –- ex-Facebook CTO Adam D’Angelo and Charlie Cheever, former head of engineering for Facebook Platform and Facebook Connect –- has now become one of the hottest consumer web companies in Silicon Valley. Result – the company is being valued at jaw-dropping valuations. (Related Post: What Startups Are Getting the Money)
According to my sources, the company has received investment interest from multiple investors who have valued the company at as much as $300 million. Quora founders have been shy of taking new investment, mostly because the company still has a lot of cash from its initial round of funding.
Matt Cohler of Benchmark Capital and a handful of other individual investors had invested $11 million in the company in March 2010. At that time Quora was valued at $86 million, making me wonder about its valuation. The fresh interest at higher valuation is a sign of their hotness. When I pinged Cohler earlier today to get a comment about investment interest, he declined to comment.
Quora quietly launched a year ago and developed a strong following among early adopters who embraced its question-and-answer social platform. Much of the early activity on the platform was around topics that were related to start-ups and entrepreneurship. Since then, a more diverse set of topics have gained attention, and the site has attracted senior Silicon Valley executives who have answered questions about their companies and shared experiences.
This high quality of content helped the company get attention from the blogging community and other media outlets — attention that has fueled the site’s growth, which has resulted in exalted expectations, outages and of course a lot of speculation about its future. The company recently won the Crunchies Best New Startup of the Year award, which has brought it even more attention, especially from the venture capital investors.
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