Starting a Business

Online Resource for Expert Advice Lines up More Than $50 Million in Financing

Magazine Contributor
Writer and Author, Specializing in Business and Finance
3 min read

This story appears in the June 2013 issue of . Subscribe »

What It Is
Got questions too complex for Google? might have the answer. Log on, post your question and a prompt will ask you what you're willing to pay for a detailed response from a professional in categories such as medicine, auto mechanics and law. An outside firm vets San Francisco-based Pearl's network of more than 10,000 professionals to ensure they've got the credentials to respond to queries on the site. So if your respondent says he's a gastroenterologist with 20 years of experience, you can feel confident in his advice.

Question master: Andy Kurtzig of
Question master: Andy Kurtzig of
Photo © Joe Budd

How It Started
Founder Andy Kurtzig launched Pearl's predecessor,, in 2003 when his wife was pregnant with their first child and they had numerous questions. Loath to call their obstetrician in the middle of the night, Kurtzig realized there was a need for a website where users could access experts in various fields. A programmer with experience launching tech businesses--he had recently sold his company gave himself a month to build the site and another month to promote it. It showed enough promise in those early weeks that he stuck with it.

Why It Took Off
Kurtzig bootstrapped to an impressive 10 million unique monthly visitors by 2012. He believed a new look and expanded personalization features, including the ability for users to create a panel of experts with whom they could communicate regularly, would allow the business to grow even more. He changed the name to and launched a fresh new look--with the same roster of experts--in June 2012.

The Business Case
Fees vary but typically run $10 to $90 per answer, depending on complexity, Kurtzig says. Roughly half of the fee goes to Dr. Michael Salkin, a retired veterinarian, says he earns $100 to $125 a day, checking in frequently to answer questions; some experts pull in as much as $40,000 per month from the site.

What's Next
At the same time as the relaunch, Kurtzig announced a $25.6 million Series A round of financing led by Glynn Capital Management and board member Charles Schwab. Four months later, Pearl closed on a $25.7 million Series B round with Crosslink Capital. The bankroll will allow Kurtzig to build what he calls "the of professional services." The site will be revamping its iPhone and iPad app and rolling out an Android version later this year. In addition, there are plans to offer subscription packages tailored to the needs of small businesses or individuals; for example, entrepreneurs could pay a flat monthly fee and enjoy unlimited access to accountants, attorneys and small-business experts.

More from Entrepreneur

Kathleen, Founder and CEO of Grayce & Co, a media and marketing consultancy, can help you develop a brand strategy, build marketing campaigns and learn how to balance work and life.
Book Your Session

In as little as seven months, the Entrepreneur Authors program will turn your ideas and expertise into a professionally presented book.
Apply Now

Are paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.
Get Your Quote Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.