Quora, that Q&A site you used a few years back and then forgot about, is not having as much luck as its Chinese clone. Zhihu, launched two years after Quora, is now a start-up “unicorn” after it secured $100 million in series D funding.
The investment and valuation are today confirmed by Kai-Fu Lee, former Google China boss turned start-up investor and an early backer of Zhihu, reports Technode.
Sixteen new start-up unicorns emerged in Asia last year, fewer than in 2015. Of those, all but five were Chinese start-ups.
Zhihu, with 65 million registered users, of whom 18.5 million are daily active users, saw 6 million questions and 23 million answers in 2016.
The start-up has managed to survive despite the onslaught of a tech giant. Baidu, China’s top search engine, has a Yahoo Answers-style section, but Zhihu has clung onto the intellectual mantle it forged by starting out focusing on tech and entrepreneurial topics. It generates revenue from accounts, ads, and Zhihu Live, in which users pay a fee for head-to-head sessions with top experts.
Quora last raised funding in 2014, trousering $80 million at a $900 million valuation.
Previous investors Tencent, Sogou, SAIF Partners, Qiming Venture Partners, and Sinovation Ventures were joined by Capital Today in Zhihu’s bumper investment.