Quora Raises $75M From a16z to Attract and Pay Poe Generative AI Chatbot Creators
Quora has raised $75 million from Andreessen Horowitz to fund its generative AI chatbot hub Poe’s nascent creator economy. The money is earmarked for enticing and paying developers to build custom chatbots out of the many large language models Poe hosts.
Poe, the Platform for Open Exploration (and named for Edgar Allan), offers users multiple official generative AI chatbots from models built by OpenAI, Google, Meta, and other big names in the space. The idea is that Poe can make AI more accessible to average consumers. Poe already offers iOS, Android, web, and MacOS support, as well as features like voice input, threading, and image generation. The platform has millions of users across its free and paid subscription tiers.
Poe also offers prompting tools and an API for developers seeking to forge and publish their own custom chatbots based on those models. The platform now boasts millions of these tailored generative AI chatbots. Quora wants to scale that number and encourage innovation and effort by paying those developers. The new funding aims to boost Poe’s creator economy plans.
“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. We are especially excited about enabling a new class of smaller AI research groups and/or companies to reach a large audience, those who have unique talent or technology but don’t have the resources to build and market a product to mainstream consumers,” Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo explained in a blog post. “As we launch the next phase of our creator monetization program, we expect the majority of this funding will go to developers to help make Poe a single interface for all of the most innovative new AI products.”
Monetize Me First
Quora envisions a thriving marketplace of generative AI assistants offering anything from educational guidance to psychological counseling and a full spectrum of entertainment. There are two initial payout methods – creators earn a percentage of subscription fees from users they convert to paid members, and they can set per-message fees. Poe’s creator economy has much in common with OpenAI’s GPT Store, which the company also announced this week. The GPT Store will host custom generative AI apps powered by OpenAI’s LLMs, and developers will have a chance to monetize their program. Also worth noting is that D’Angelo sits on OpenAI’s board of directors, the sole remaining member from before OpenAI CEO Sam Altman’s brief but tumultuous firing. But, while ChatGPT is better known than Poe, the latter does count the former’s LLMs among its collection.
“Where other AI companies are focused on building the best model, Poe has a two-fold mission: 1) be the best way for consumers to interact with a variety of AI products in the same workflow and 2) be the easiest way for a developer to build a multi-modal AI product and reach a mass audience, whether prompting an existing model to create a bot or training a model themselves” “a16z general partner David George shared in a blog post about the funding. “Poe has the added advantage of being able to tap the Quora community of 400M+ users looking for knowledge and expertise. Poe is the logical evolution for these people to find and interact with information, giving Poe distinctive advantages where AI and human expertise intersect and providing a unique distribution channel.”