In addition, the company announced that Sanford R. Robertson, the founder of Francisco Partners, Montgomery Securities, Robertson Stephens and current board member at SalesForce.com and Dolby, has joined the Pearl.com Board of Directors. Other members of the Pearl.com board include Charles Schwab Corporation founder and Chairman Charles Schwab, former 3Com president and Informix CEO Robert Finocchio, Jr. and Larry W. Sonsini, chairman of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
Pearl.com, which raised $25 million in Series A funding last year, offers people the ability to communicate live online with verified professionals in hundreds of categories as varied as medicine, legal, veterinary and auto repair anytime, from anywhere in the world.
“What Pearl.com is doing is truly innovative. The idea of bringing even a small percentage of the professional market online, in the way that Amazon.com did with retail, is a multi-billion-dollar idea,” said Pearl.com investor and board member Charles Schwab. “With an established network of independent industry professionals, a proven and thriving business model and now the new site and brand, I think Pearl.com is positioned to see exciting growth in its customer base.”
Formerly known as JustAnswer®, the company has been growing revenue an average of 123 percent year over the last five years and currently generates revenue in 196 countries and 22 currencies. Pearl.com was founded in 2003 by serial entrepreneur Andy Kurtzig as a way for his then-pregnant and worried wife to talk with an OB/GYN about her round-the-clock health concerns in a more convenient way. Today, the company has evolved into a platform for people around the world to communicate directly with verified professionals in hundreds of categories as varied as pet behavior and tax law to antique appraisal and computer repair, anytime, from anywhere, affordably.
“There is significant information clutter on the web, but people come to Pearl.com when they need to talk one-on-one with a professional about an important issue. We truly help people, not only by providing them with another credible option to get answers, but by saving them money, time and worry,” explained Founder and CEO Andy Kurtzig. “On Pearl.com, you can talk to doctors, lawyers, veterinarians, auto mechanics and tech support – whether it’s for additional medical explanation, getting legal information or assistance repairing your car, appliances or gadgets.”
Online Professional Services Market Opportunity
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, just the top five types of services in categories provided on Pearl.com – veterinary, tech support, home/auto/product repairs, legal and medical – generate more than $1.2 trillion in annual revenue. Though a growing volume of commerce has migrated online, less than one percent of the professional services are currently provided online. Pearl.com is the dominant player in the massive emerging market of communicating with professionals online.
How Pearl.com works:
The one-on-one real-time Pearl.com experience provides customers with access to answers to their questions. Here’s how it works:
1. Ask a question and choose the type of professional (e.g. doctor or lawyer).
2. Pick a price based on a desired response time and answer detail. Prices vary, but most questions average around $30. Monthly subscriptions for unlimited access to professionals are also available.
3. Receive your answer and discuss during a back-and-forth, online conversation with a professional. Customers typically receive a response to their questions within seven and a half minutes.