ChaCha Ceasing Operations

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ChaCha was launched in 2008. ChaCha was launched in 2008.

ChaCha, the Carmel-based question and answer service and one-time darling of the Indiana tech scene, is today notifying investors that it is ceasing operations after a decade. Despite developing products to compete with Apple's Siri and Google's Now, the company says it could not raise enough capital to continue to operate. Sharply declining advertising revenues in recent years had forced ChaCha to scale back to a small number of employees and efforts to sell the company were unsuccessful.

ChaCha was conceived by technology entrepreneur Scott Jones in 2005 and filed its first patent in early 2006. Jones also serves as president of Grow INdiana Media Ventures, LLC, the parent of Inside INdiana Business.

The company launched in 2008, answering questions at the Sundance Film Festival, and despite its ultimate failure, ChaCha's history includes notable accomplishments.

ChaCha raised more than $84 million in capital, including $34 million in cash from Jones. Its list of investors included CEO Jeff Bezos and Compaq founding CEO Rod Canion.

During its history, the company says it answered more than 2.25 billion questions, averaging 18 million users per month and, at its peak, boasted more than 36 million monthly users on its family of websites.

The company says it employed more than 400 people, most in Indiana.

"While failure is never a pleasant experience, there are many good things that can spring from it, as is constantly demonstrated in places such as Silicon Valley, where failure is sometimes even considered a badge of honor," said Jones in a statement. "Certainly, many important lessons were learned by hundreds of people who went on to have many bigger successes."

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