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  • Nextdoor is Local & Global, Free & Social

    Reprinted from TechCrunch (June 2017)
    Nextdoor is the free and private social network for neighborhoods. Using Nextdoor’s platform, available on the Web and mobile devices, neighbors create private neighborhood websites where they get to know one another, ask questions, exchange local advice and recommendations, and organize virtual neighborhood watches to reduce crime.
    More than 90,000 neighborhoods across the country, representing over 50% of U.S. neighborhoods, are using Nextdoor to build happier and safer places to call home. It has taken another step up in its global growth, after launching in the Netherlands and the UK last year. In June, the company opened for business in Germany, the largest internet market in Europe.
    The move comes as Nextdoor says it is now used in 160,000 neighborhoods across the US, UK and Netherlands, with about 145,000 of those in its home market of the US, and the company continues to grow at a steady pace.
    “We are growing 100 percent year over year have done that since inception,” said co-founder and CEO Nirav Tolia. This works out to adding around 100 new neighborhoods every day. In the US, Nextdoor is in 75 percent of all U.S. neighborhoods, and since launching in the Netherlands last year, it’s in 50 percent of neighborhoods, while in the UK — where the company got a leg up when it acquired a local competitor Streetlife — Nextdoor is in 40 percent of neighborhoods.
    This is solid growth, and Nextdoor is using the scale to start to introduce ads — before last year the service was essentially free of any monetization — and to step up its growth outside of its core market. The company has now raised around $210 million in funding and was last valued at $1.1 billion. Tolia said that most of its last round — $110 million raised in 2015 — is still in the bank. He added that there may be more funding efforts soon as the company sets its sights on opening for business in Asia and Latin America.
    In its bid to be the go-to place online for people who want to link up with their communities for local discussions, selling and buying things, and more, Nextdoor competes with a sizeable range of other entities that include Facebook’s Groups, Craigslist and homegrown forums.
    The company has “baked privacy and security into the model from day one”, with content ring-fenced by location, people using their real names, and a requirement to confirm your address before registering for a neighborhood. (In contrast, if you’ve ever used a Facebook Group, you’ll know that the joining process is significantly looser, and of course you can be a member of multiple groups, diluting some of the point.)
    The security and privacy elements are interesting aspects of the service when you consider the problems that Facebook has had specifically in Germany but across other parts of Europe, especially in relation to privacy and data protection issues and claims that these are not safeguarded well enough.
    If Nextdoor plays its cards right, its place as the “anti-Facebook” could see it getting some stronger attention in its newest market.
    Nextdoor has garnered the reputation as the equivalent of an online “neighborhood watch” noticeboard. Nextdoor also gives users guidelines on what they can post on the site, with a push for people to be civil and not self-promote. It will be interesting to see how those lines evolve — or alternatively, remain steady — as more commercialization takes hold.