Earlier this year, Formspring, a San Francisco-based social Q&A startup, got tongues wagging when it raised $2.5 million in its Series A funding mostly from top angel investors. The round, led by Freestyle Capital, turned out to be a coming-out party for angel investors who have become a big factor in Silicon Valley’s ecosystem.
Seven months later, Formspring is making news again. We’ve learned the company has raised $10 million in fresh funding in a round led by Redpoint Ventures. Geoff Yang, a well-known digital media investor, is leading the investment on behalf of Redpoint. The new round values Formspring somewhere around $45 million. The company declined to comment on the funding.
Formspring’s is relatively simple offering; you sign-up and create a page and then anyone can ask you anything, even anonymously. In many ways, it’s like blog comments, minus the blog post. Apparently, this is something folks like to do; the company says it has about 40 million unique visitors who show up every month. That growth is costing the company a pretty penny and has been a focus of its recent hirings.
The new investment is part of a growing trend. Fast-growing startups with momentum are able to raise big rounds of money, as Sand Hill Road investors try to cherry pick from a vast number of consumer web and mobile companies. Formspring fits the bill; the company claims more than a billion questions have been answered on its platform.
Formspring.me is also part of a group of startups (and large companies) trying to capture a piece of what is a massive and ever-evolving web trend: personal expression. It started with blogs; it spread with micro blogging (Twitter and Facebook) and, more recently, self-expression through remixing (Tumblr.) Answering questions as an expert is only an extension of that trend, which is why you’re seeing services like Formspring get momentum, and hence the money.
From the Video Archives Chat with Formspring.me CEO Ade Olonoh:
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