According to Business Insider, Quora investors may have turned down a 1 billion dollar acquisition offer. What’s more surprising is that while the offer can’t be confirmed, some think $1 billion would be too low. Is Quora really worth that much?
Quora – the question and answer site founded by Adam D’Angelo and Charlie Cheever – has been experiencing immense growth in the last year, and even more buzz and media coverage. From the move of Marc Bodnick – former Managing Director and Co-Founder of Elevation Partners – to the intense media interest the site has gathered, Quora and its investors have seen many concrete and positive signs in the last few months, but is Quora really worth more than a billion dollars?
According to a source quoted from Business Insider, the answer is yes. Apparently, the anonymous source said, “I don’t know about that [the offer]. But it would be too low.” Before analyzing this statement, it’s important to note that an anonymous source is not the same as a press release. Further, asking a Quora investor about its value, particularly during its startup phase, is inviting a biased answer. Still, it gives an idea of the kind of expectations people on the business side of Quora have.
And, there is reason for investors to believe in the site. In December, Google’s Irene Au – Head of Design – had nothing but positive things to say about Quora, stating, “I admire Quora’s design. That’s been a very successful design, not only visually, but also for interaction in terms of how they have built in mechanics for ensuring high quality content. For a Q&A site, it didn’t turn into a Yahoo Answers with spammy answers. There’s a lot of really rich high quality content there. It’s one of my favourite sites to visit on a daily basis now. Kudos to Rebekah Cox and the team there.”
Moreover, the site is experiencing a similar growth pattern to the immensely successful Facebook, by starting with young tech-savvy educated men, building to include a small and exclusive user base, and then expanding that user base to include a broader population. Combined with the growth, signs look good.
However, not everyone is so convinced that Quora’s worth much of anything at all – yet. The site is working very hard to differentiate itself from Yahoo Answers and other pre-existing question and answer sites, but it’s not yet clear whether users understand or care about the differences. This is essential. After all, Answers.com just sold for $125 million – pale in comparison to Quora’s expectations.
The even bigger question is whether or not Quora will have success beyond its user (and fan) base in the Silicon Valley. At the moment, the most active users on the site, and its loudest supporters, are all based in Silicon Valley. But, Quora has yet to establish whether a broader user base is going to be actively interested in the site, or, even find the site useful.
Ultimately, it’s difficult to assess Quora’s potential worth at such an early stage. Factors, such as its growth over the next year, will determine whether it can live up to the buzz. However, with reports like this one, people want big things from Quora and the billion dollar question is: how will Quora cope with such high expectations?