ChaCha Secures $20m

ChaCha, the free real-time answers service, has closed a $20m (£12.5m) round of financing from new investors VantagePoint Venture Partners and Rho Ventures.

ChaCha has answered almost 1bn questions in the past two years alone, having surpassed even Google in mobile text search, according to Nielsen. In the course of answering questions, ChaCha creates a dialogue with its users, which ends with a marketers call to action. Additionally, the company will soon deploy a new MMS service that will deliver movie trailers, other video, coupon images, and rich media ads to virtually all phones, not just smartphones.

ChaCha has worked with many leading brand advertisers, including Paramount Pictures, McDonalds, Palm, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble and Wal-Mart. The company’s year-to-date ad sales are up 292 per cent, while Q3 revenue is 302 per cent of Q3 revenue in 2009. Over 70 per cent of ChaCha’s 2010 advertising campaigns to date are renewals.

“We are fortunate to have VantagePoint and Rho joining this round of funding, which will allow ChaCha to continue to expand its real-time, human-powered, free answers service,” says ChaCha CEO, Scott Jones. “Our new investors clearly recognize the value of our business, which helps advertisers get into the conversation with ChaCha users. Our business delivers high value to both users and advertisers. It’s a compelling equation.”