People have been learning machines for millions of years. But spreading credible knowledge to a wide audience has always been challenging. The dissemination of what we know has always been a small fraction of what we know.
One company bridging this gap is Quora.
The question-and-answer platform that pushes expert answers to the top now attracts about 190 million monthly users. In six years it’s become one of the largest hubs of knowledge in the world.
It’s an amazing product. Which is why I’m happy to announce that Collaborative Fund co-led Quora’s latest financing round – our largest investment to date.
Quora is an easy fit into the Collaborative Fund family.
We have a relentless focus on proving our investment thesis: That businesses generating the greatest returns over the next generation will be rooted in making the world a better and more interesting place. Values as a competitive edge.
Quora’s mission is to share and grow the world’s knowledge, which perfectly aligns with that thesis.
Quora stood out to us in several other ways.
One is its commitment to quality over quantity. Many companies have tried to build open knowledge-sharing platforms, from chat rooms to review sites. A central problem they run into is the pursuit of scale. While seemingly rational, it can quickly turn a collaborating community into a frenzied zoo of low-quality shouting, even spam.
A Quora user once asked CEO Adam D’Angelo how many people use the service. He responded:
This kind of thinking is rare, especially in today’s management culture of maximizing short-term results.
The irony is that by focusing on the quality of its product over the number of users, Quora has attracted a massive user base, organically. The result is a community that’s not only large and growing, but highly engaged with a product that keeps getting better.
That’s how enduring brands are made.
Another is CEO Adam D’Angelo himself. I initially met Adam in a meeting with the founder of Line. I was immediately drawn to his vision, focus, long-term thinking, thoughtfulness, and passion for the product. Adam has the rare combination of both technical expertise and true managerial vision.
Adam can traverse between the priorities of the next six months and the next 10 years without skipping a beat. He empathizes with Quora users. He understands the product as well as he understands the technology behind it, as seen in his decision to let users own the content, rather than Quora keeping it for itself. He’s also surrounded himself with an amazing team. In the process of getting to know the company, I spent time with, among others, the CFO, head of sales, head of product, and head of communications. All are equally impressive in skills and experience. But they’re also diverse in background, gender, and thinking — something we value greatly at Collaborative Fund.
Collaborative Fund can also be a great partner for Quora. When Adam and I first discussed working together, I could tell he was interested in Collaborative Fund. To my wonder, he was so interested that he invited us to participate in the company’s next round of financing. I was surprised, to say the least. This is a founder with limitless options.
Curious as to why he wanted to partner, I continued to listen. He explained that he is drawn to Collaborative Fund because of two important things:
A shared belief that the underlying values of collaboration are core to successful 21st Century businesses.
A vision that partnering with like-minded investors who are truly aligned with the mission of the company will ultimately pay outsized dividends.
Collaborative Fund also has strong roots in Asia – including a co-investment vehicle with Line and strategic partners including Tencent and Kakao – which we hope can help leverage Quora’s international expansion plans.
Finally, this is a unique investment for Collaborative Fund.
Quora is a substantially larger and later-stage investment than we typically make. And while this investment was not made out of our seed-stage fund, it highlights Collaborative Fund’s long-term vision to back great companies that are moving the world forward, even in asset classes other than early-stage VC.
We plan on making more of these larger, opportunistic investments in the future, leveraging our brand and investment philosophy to a broader set of asset classes, details of which we’ll share at a later date.
We are excited and grateful to join Adam and the Quora team on their journey. And to do it together with Sam Altman, Dustin Moskovitz, and the rest of the Quora investors, is an honor and a privilege.