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Editor's Note: Our annual Vator Splash Spring 2016 conference is around the corner on May 12, 2016 at the historic Scottish Rite Center in Oakland. Speakers include Tom Griffiths (CPO & Co-founder, FanDuel), Andy Dunn (Founder & CEO, Bonobos), Nirav Tolia (Founder & CEO, NextDoor), Mitch Kapor (Founder, Kapor Center for Social Impact); Founders of Handy, TubeMogul, VSCO, Vinted; Investors from Khosla Ventures, Javelin Venture Partners, Kapor Capital, Greylock, DFJ, IDG, IVP and more. Join us! REGISTER HERE.
As our readers know, Vator has started a series called: When they were young.
It's a look back at the modest days of startups, how they evolved in their first few years, and what traction they had at the time. In the end, we hope to have a good glimpse into what great startups looked like in their first three years.
Stories like these are always well received, because it reminds us that anyone, regardless of pedigree and environment, can rise above the noise and have great influence. They show us the value of being resilient, persistent and committed. If we can follow their footsteps, maybe we too can have similar success.
Today's segment is on Nextdoor. (Note: Nirav Tolia, the CEO and co-founder of Nextdoor, will be a speaker at Vator Splash Spring on May 12)
Nextdoor's First Year ------
Created: On August 18, 2010, the first lines of code are committed for a prototype called "Neighborly."
The idea was a pivot from the company's previous incarnation, Fanbase, an online crowdsourced almanac of professional and college athletes, which had raised $5 million in venture funding from Benchmark, and had 15 million monthly active users.
Founders: Nirav Tolia, Sarah Leary and Prakash Janakiraman
Staff - at eight months: on April 4, 2011, Nextdoor hires its first employee outside of the founding team, an associate marketing manager. On April 19, 2011, it hires its first engineer outside of the founding team.
Traction - at one year: On August 7, 2011, Nextdoor launches its 100th neighborhood while still in private beta. The company celebrates with an employee lunch called the “Dim Sum 100” at San Francisco’s Yank Sing restaurant.
Nextdoor's Second Year ------
Traction - at one year and two months: On October 26, 2011, Nextdoor launches nationally with 176 neighborhoods.
“We ‘friend’ more people than ever and ‘follow’ strangers we’ve never met, yet we don’t have a good way to communicate with the people who live right next door,” Tolia said at the time. “There are many ways our neighbors can help us, but these days people don’t know their neighbors, or how to contact them. Nextdoor was created to change that.”
Media coverage - at one year and four months: on Dec 6, 2011, the company is highlighted in a piece by NBC's Bay Area affiliate.
"It's about all of the things you would talk to your neighbors about to solve real problems in your everyday lives," said Tolia in an interview. "So, even though it's call a social network, it's not necessarily about being social. It's about being useful. It's about solving your problems by the knowledge that your neighbors have all around you."
By the end of 2011, Nextdoor is in 716 neighborhoods.
Media coverage- at one year and eight months: On April 5, 2012, Tolia does an interview with Emily Chang on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg West," in which he discussed the issue of safety.
"It turns out it's pretty easy to find out where people live on the Internet today, so that isn't something new that we're doing," he said.
"What we're trying to do is build strong, and safer, neighborhoods. If you do see some suspicious activity in your neighborhood, you want to be able to easily tell your neighbors. Or if you're one of the nighbors that sees suspicious activity, you want to be able to know about it, and do something about it."
First funding - at one year and 11 months: On July 24, 2012, Nextdoor raises $18.6 million from Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, Greylock Partners and Shasta Ventures.
It is now in over 3,700 neighborhoods across 48 states.
Nextdoor's Third Year ------
Community outreach - at two years and one month: on Septemer 29 2012, Nextdoor teams up with San Jose to hand out its first ever Good Neighbor Awards.
The Most Connected Neighborhood Award went to on Nextdoor SCVCC, a community in San Jose’s District 8, while the Most Innovative Neighborhood Award went to Nextdoor Hayes.
Press coverage - at one year and two months: A year after it's official launch, Tolia talks to Colleen Taylor at TechCrunch TV, where he reveals that more than 300,000 member messages are being sent on the site every single day; 20 percent of the posts are about crime and safety, 30 percent are recommendations, 15 percent are local classifieds, and 10 percent are local events.
"We like to think of ourselves as a social tool, a social utility. It's much less about photo sharing. It's much less about status updates. It's much less about being social in general. These aren't your friends, they're your neighbors. They'e people you get together with when you want to solve problems," he said.
At this point it is in 5,500 neighborhoods in every state.
Traction - at two years and four months: by the end of 2012, Nextdoor is in 6,672 neighborhoods.
Second funding - at two years and six months: On February 12, 2013, Nextdoor raises $21.6 million, in a round led by Greylock Partners, along with existing investors Benchmark, Shasta Ventures, DAG Ventures, Allen & Company and Pinnacle Venture, as well as new investors Bezos Expeditions and Google Ventures. This brings its total funding to $40.2 million.
Greylock Partners' David Sze joins the Board of Directors.
At the same time, it also launches Nextdoor 2.0, which includes a newly-designed user interface, the ability for neighbors to reach nearby neighborhoods with relevant information and an enhanced focus on helping neighbors create virtual neighborhood watches to fight crime.
Traction - at two years and seven months: Nextdoor hits the 10,000 neighborhood mark.
Going mobile - at two years and nine months: On May 23, 2013 Nextdoor launches its iPhone app, allowing users to send an urgent alert about suspicious activity, share a photo with neighbors of a lost dog, warn neighbors about road construction, communicate about graffiti and organize a cleanup, and report lost keys found on the sidewalk.
Expansion - at two years and 10 months: In June 2013, Nextdoor launches in New York City. More than 1,800 neighborhood websites, across all five boroughs, are created almost immediately.
Going mobile part II - at three years: on August 21, 2013: Nextdoor launches its Android app.
It is now used by more than 18,000 neighborhoods, and members are sending more than 1 million messages each day using the Nextdoor platform.
Nextdoor's fourth Year ------
Third funding - at three years and two months: - On October 29, 2013, Nextdoor raises $60 million in a round led by new investors John Doerr and Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) and Lee Fixel of Tiger Global Management. The round also includes Comcast Ventures, as well as previous investors, Benchmark, Greylock Partners, and Shasta Ventures.
This brings the company's total amount raised to just over $100 million in only 18 months.
Traction - at three years and four months: by the end of 2013, Nextdoor is in 25,686 neighborhoods.
Read more from our "When they were young" series
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Nextdoor (www.nextdoor.com) is a private social network for the neighborhood. Using Nextdoor’s free online platform, neighbors create private neighborhood websites where members can ask questions, get to know one another and exchange local advice and recommendations. Nextdoor is specifically designed to provide a trusted environment for neighbor-to-neighbor communication. Hundreds of neighborhoods are already using Nextdoor to build happier, safer places to call home.
Based in San Francisco, California, Nextdoor was founded in 2010 by Internet veterans who have spent their careers creating thriving online communities.