One startup that’s been on my radar (which isn’t yet available in Canada) is Nextdoor. They describe themselves as a “private social network for your neighborhood” and are active in more than 22,500 American neighborhoods. To date they’ve raised $100M in venture funding.
From what I can tell, their primary focus (and big value proposition) has been around safety and security. Residents can use it to report incidents, such as a car break in. There are obviously other use cases, but I keep hearing this one come up. And I think it works because the community is so closely controlled. Every address is verified.
But a few things come to mind as I read about their success and growth (400% neighborhood growth over the past year). How many social networks can people handle? Why can’t this be done using an existing platform (and perhaps a closed group)? And is there an opportunity to create the same kind of closed social network for condo and apartment buildings?
There are lots of social networks out there. Whether you’re a wine snob or a pet owner, somebody has thought it. But if Path’s recent struggles are any indication, niche social networks can be tough. Which is why Nextdoor seems like a bit of an outlier to me.
But I think the success of Nextdoor stems from the fact that, even in our hyper connected world, a lot of us, paradoxically, still don’t know the people who live right beside us. And I think this is also the case in multi-family dwellings. It’s a problem I’ve thought about and discussed with an number of my condo-dwelling friends.
So I look forward to seeing how Nextdoor evolves and also seeing if they end up expanding to condos and apartments.