Tiger Global helps Q&A site Quora raise $80 million

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Question-and-answer service Quora has raised $80 million in funding led by financier Tiger Global, the latest in a group of no-revenue startups to land outsized checks from investors.

The company, founded in 2009 by Facebook alumni, said the cash would support three areas: ensuring Quora lasts on the Internet; that it retains its independence and avoids getting acquired; and that it expands into languages beyond English.

Quora will add another tongue by 2015, but company has yet to decide which language to add first, said Marc Bodnick, the company’s head of business.

The service forms part of a group of start-ups that can raise considerable cash without revenue. Last year, photo-messaging service Snapchat raised $50 million from investment firm Coatue, and neighborhood social network Nextdoor raised $60 million from Tiger Global and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Online scrapbook Pinterest raised $425 million in two funding rounds last year before earning any revenue.

Quora plans to start experimenting with advertising by the end of 2015, Bodnick said. Because users tend to visit the site to search for specific pieces of information, Quora’s audience should prove attractive to advertisers, he added.

Questions on Quora can take a more open-ended, philosophical tone than other Q&A services, and are known for attracting high-caliber responses. ‘If there was a recipe for success as a movie producer, what would be the necessary ingredients?’ drew a lengthy answer last week from Robert Evans, the producer behind “Chinatown” and other Hollywood classics.

Critics say Quora is far behind other Q&A services, such as Yahoo Answers, which consulting company ComScore said attracted 94,000 unique visitors in February compared to 2,165 for Quora. Bodnick said outside measurements underestimate Quora’s users.

The latest funding round went directly to the company rather than buying out employees and existing investors, the company said. Benchmark, Matrix Partners, North Bridge, and Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel joined Tiger in the investment round.

Quora previously raised $60 million in 2012 and $11 million in 2010.

Editing by Eric Walsh