JustAnswer -- Then and Now
By Carolyn Hauck
Posted in: JustAnswer
The JustAnswer story begins like many fabled Bay Area start-up stories: Nearly fifteen years ago an entrepreneur named Andy Kurtzig had an idea to start a professional services website and worked tirelessly in the spare bedroom of his house to bring his idea to life.
Andy had been frustrated by the lack of response from doctors for his pregnant wife’s questions and concerns, and wondered what it would be like if she could connect with a doctor online at any hour of the day or night. And not just any doctor, he wanted to create a Q&A site where the answers came from vetted experts.
The proud son of Sandra Kurtzig, Silicon Valley’s first woman entrepreneur to take a company public, Andy learned entrepreneurship early on. In 2003 he launched JustAnswer, a professional services website that connects customers with verified experts, betting on the idea that people would be willing to pay a small fee for a quality answer from a top-notch expert. He bet right.
As Bill Robinson wrote on The Huffington Post, “JustAnswer.com is a place for the more important questions people face and the company takes its obligation to online question-askers very, very seriously; seeing itself more as helping the world than answering questions.” (“A Pearl.com Comes Out of JustAnswer.com” Huffington Post, 2012)
Like many now well-known start-ups, JustAnswer has risen from its humble spare-bedroom beginnings to become a multi-million dollar company thanks to the toil and vision of Kurtzig, a few hundred talented employees and 10,000 or so verified experts in nearly 700 categories all dedicated to bringing expert help to anyone, anywhere, anytime. JustAnswer now operates in 4 different languages in 196 countries.
But the JustAnswer story doesn’t end there—far from it.
From the very beginning, the company has been committed to a spirit of relentless experimentation. The JustAnswer team is fiercely dedicated to testing, measuring and refining theories and ideas to bring an unparalleled user experience to its customers. It’s one of the primary reasons JustAnswer is able to adapt so quickly to a constantly shifting marketplace.
In 2012, JustAnswer decided to rebrand itself to Pearl.com, offering the same online professional service optimized for a better mobile experience. Soon after Pearl.com was launched, the company realized they already had a powerful consumer base on JustAnswer and decided to return to the original name, taking with them all the knowledge they’d gathered about offering customers a delightful experience while creating Pearl.com.
JustAnswer also continues to grow and thrive because its employees love their work environment. In 2012, Jeff Hughes put it like this in the San Francisco Business Times, “Kurtzig attributes the enthusiasm of employees to the company’s values and mission. Potential employees are screened based on 15 core values, such as 'being humble, smart, fun and getting things done.' Values ensure that employees work alongside like-minded people.“ (“From Kurtzig’s spare bedroom to $85 million in revenue” San Francisco Business Times, 2012)
It’s true: People at JustAnswer love working with each other, and they love the opportunity to improve the quality of life for everyone—especially those who need a helping hand. It’s a mission they strongly believe in and proudly work to build upon.