Quora raises $75m for its AI chatbot platform

10 Jan 2024

Image: © wachiwit/Stock.adobe.com

The majority of the funding will be used to pay bot creators on the platform through Quora’s content monetisation programme.

Popular discussions platform Quora has landed $75m in funding from Andreessen Horowitz (A16z) to further its AI plans.

The company launched Poe, its AI chatbot platform, nearly a year ago. The platform brings together multiple text and image AI models such as ChatGPT, DALL-E 3, Stable Diffusion and Llama, allowing creators to play around with several of these tools.

In October 2023, Quora announced a creator monetisation programme allowing bot creators to generate revenue using Poe.

“There are millions of bots created by Poe users through prompting and by developers through our API. We look forward to working closely with David George and the A16z team to accelerate the improvements we will be bringing to our users and creators, and to make AI more accessible for the average consumer,” said Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo.

“Our goal is for Poe to enable as many individual developers as possible to make a living, and for as many businesses as possible to operate profitably solely by using the platform.”

David George, a general partner at A16z, said Poe could do for AI what Roblox did for gaming. “Poe is building tools for creators to modify existing models in order to unleash the creativity in the long tail of people who want to build AI, but don’t have the resources themselves to build models,” he said.

“Poe’s creator tools are in the early stages of development but offer benefits similar to Roblox, including multiplatform infrastructure, discovery and the ability for bot creators to generate revenue.”

While the latest funding round brings Quora’s valuation to $500m, D’Angelo said this is lower than its previous peak of $1.8bn due to “rising interest rates and higher cost of capital”. However, he said the investment from A16z is a statement of confidence in the company.

A16z’s vested interest

A16z has been investing heavily in the AI space in recent years, largely driven by the explosion of generative AI.

The VC firm’s co-founder Marc Andreessen has been extremely vocal about the benefits of AI and has even referred to those raising concerns about the dangers of AI as a “cult”.

However, these opinions must be considered alongside the level of vested interest A16z has in AI technology, having pumped millions of dollars into AI start-ups in recent years, including Character.AI, Hippocratic AI, Ambient.AI and Coactive.

In August 2023 alone, the investment company co-led a $200m funding round for AI-powered drug discovery company Genesis Therapeutics and a $16.5m round text-to-image AI generator Ideogram.

However, the VC has form for making major investments in certain emerging technologies, not always to great success. The company began investing in crypto in 2013 and by the end of May 2022, Andreessen Horowitz had raised more than $7.6bn in funds to support crypto start-ups. But the sector has since suffered major blows with the collapse of FTX and regulatory issues.

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Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic