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Q&A sites are getting a lot of attention in the past year. Last week, Formspring raised $11.5 million from Benchmark. In December, Twitter bought Q&A site Fluther. Last October, ChaCha raised $20 million, bringing total funds to date to nearly $72 million. Last spring, Quora raised $11 million for a reported $86 million. And, at the start of last year, Google bought Aardvark. Other startups are emerging in this space, like Law Pivot, a Q&A site just for legal advice, which launched last August. Meanwhile, other lesser-known, non-VC-backed startups, such as JustAnswer, are making solid revenue by allowing experts to charge for providing answers.
Google Ventures has been one of the more active Silicon Valley investment firms, having made some 50 investments since 2009. It also has a pretty good exit under its belt with ngmoco, a gaming startup that sold for $400 million at the end of 2010, months after Google Ventures invested. More recently, the VC led an $85 million investment in Kabam, a gaming company focused on hardcore gamers. Joe Kraus, who joined Google Ventures as a partner in 2010, went on the board of Kabam as well.
Recently, I sat down with Joe, whose better known for his experience on the other side of the investment table. Joe founded Excite, one of the first search engines, which also became one of the first Internet companies to go public in 1996. Joe went onto find JotSpot, which he sold to Google in 2006. After Joe's earnout was finished at Google, he decided that it was time to try his hand as an investor. Read more