Quora Making Moves Online and Off

Photograph by Matthew Staver/Bloomberg

Quora co-founder Adam D'Angelo said his site has diversified its content beyond technology and startups.

Q: What red-hot Silicon Valley startup is NOT moving to San Francisco?

A: Quora.

The online question-and-answer service co-founded by early Facebook executive Adam D’Angelo just signed a lease in Mountain View, California, opting not to follow some of the Bay Area’s fastest growing Web companies into San Francisco.

Quora’s new building, eight miles south of its current home in Palo Alto, is big enough for about 150 people, almost four times its size today, according to D’Angelo. He predicts that should be enough for two years of growth as Quora tries to create the go-to site for answers on, well, just about everything.

While the company prepares to head to its new space later this year, the more significant move is happening online, where Quora is no longer just a place for techies to ask and respond to queries. D’Angelo said that in early 2011, half of the top 20 topics were related to technology and startups. Today, it’s more like a quarter. As for geographic expansion, less than 10 percent of U.S. traffic now comes from users in California, while one-third of new users are from outside the country, he said.

“It used to be that people thought of Quora as a Silicon Valley site,” D’Angelo said. “We’ve diversified a lot.” The site is seeing an increase in usage on topics related to food, entertainment, politics and health, he said.

Quora still isn’t talking about how it plans to make money from all the information it’s collecting and serving up. That’s OK for now, because the company raised $50 million in May from investors including Facebook backer Peter Thiel and venture firms Benchmark Capital and Matrix Partners. D’Angelo said it will probably be another year before the company starts trying to bring in revenue.

“We spend a lot of time just keeping up with the growth, making sure the site and product can scale to accommodate all the new users,” he said. “As we hire more people and we’re able to get more on top of things, then we’ll probably start to experiment with some revenue-generating products.”

The money question isn’t new for D’Angelo. He answered it publicly on Dec. 2, 2009, on his very own site. One user asked: “What could Quora’s long-term business plan be?”

His only hint was that there’s a “good chance” advertising will be part of it.

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