Joel Spolsky, the influential longtime software blogger, said this weekend that he plans to raise funding for StackOverflow, the programming Q&A site, and to that end will be on a roadshow next week in Silicon Valley. The Q&A space (aka “social search,” if you’re on a VC roadshow) is hopping right now, with Google buying Aardvark for a reported $50 million, and others such as Hunch and Quora attracting plenty of buzz (Aardvark raised $6 million from August Capital and Baseline Ventures, Hunch has raised at least $2 million, and Quora is self-funded last we checked but the service is swarming with VCs).
Spolsky’s fundraising disclosure came as a bit of a surprise, and provoked public disapproval from folks like 37signals’ David Heinemeier Hansson, given Spolsky has written before about the value of slow growth and how venture capitalists’ goals are not aligned with company founders. It was as if he had switched teams.
Spolsky said that StackOverflow has grown to 6 million monthly uniques in a year and a half, and is operating with 50 percent profit margins (based on minimal advertising). He said, “Now we’re biting off the bigger goal of changing the way everyone gets answers to their questions on the Internet, and that’s something we can’t do alone.” He said VCs could help him grow to a “big exit” or an IPO, add publicity and connections, and negotiate the “land grab” in the online Q&A space.