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Nextdoor started slow, with only 100 neighborhoods in its first year, but now covers 60% of the U.S.
While it may not have hit the ground running, the company has been ramping up quickly in the last few years, and now it has hit a significant milestone. The company announced that it now has more than 100,000 neighborhoods, meaning it now represents 60 percent of all neighborhoods in the United States.
"Every day, millions of neighbors in these neighborhoods use Nextdoor to connect and communicate in a trusted environment. And every day, we hear inspiring stories of how Nextdoor has helped these neighbors build stronger, safer, and happier places to call home," Tolia wrote in a blog post.
The growth of Nextdoor
Created in 2010, Nextdoor only 176 neighborhoods total in its first year, reaching 716 by the end of 2011. From there it absolutely exploded, growing by over 800 percent in 2012, to finish the year with 6,672 neighborhoods. That was due to the company developing an automated way for users to automatically create a neighborhood, rather than the company doing it manually, as they had done previously.
Nextdoor grew to 25,500 by the end of 2013, and nearly doubled that the next year to just under 49,000. Growth has been slowing a bit in the last year, going up by 76 percent in 2015, but it did increase by another 15 percent in the last six months. It is currently adding 100 neighborhoods a day.
Tolia discussed the company's early growth problems at Vator Splash Spring in May, how he was able to overcome them and how they actually helped in the long run.
"The first summer that we had the product out, we had maybe a dozen neighborhoods that were the using service, and we went to the company and said, 'We need to do something ambitious this summer to show that this really has the kind of reach that we want it to have. That it can be truly mainstream'," Tolia said.
In order to do that the company designed something called the Dim Sum 100, where he promised that, if the company could get to 100 neighborhoods, that they would get a dim sum party. Of course, the company was able to do it.
"I think the lesson for is, you can choose to focus on quanity, or you can choose to focus on quality. Rarely can you focus on both at the same time. If you focus on quantity, it's fine. You're trying to actually grow as quickly as possible, you're trying to get the largest userbase as possible, but you may lose a lot of that audience. You may have churn, and that may be ok, because you want to establish awareness, you want to get people to start driving so you can get back at some point," he said.
He also noted that starting small gave the company better insight into how users were engaging with the service.
"The other way of doing it is, you can say, 'Look, it's not about absolute numbers on day one, or day 100,' because the average users is going to be low, but it's about quality. It's about making sure you have strong product market fit, and when you're observing the small group at the beginning, you have the insight and, frankly, the ability, to study that community, or that userbase, so carefully that you really understand whats going on and make changes. Once you make those changes, you can say, 'Now we have strong product market fit, now let's figure out, are there parts of the product that we can make automatic, or self fulfilling, in technology, that will enable us to scale much more quickly?'"
The future of Nextdoor
As I noted above, the number of neighborhoods that Nextdoor has been launching in has been slowing, which makes sense now that it is used by more than half the country.
That means the next obvious step for the company is to go international, something it started doing late last year with the formation of a new company, called Nextdoor EMEA. EMEA stands for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
"As we continue to grow our base in the U.S., it will be increasingly important to make Nextdoor available to the rest of the world," Tolia wrote.
"We have already started this international expansion by launching in the Netherlands, and in less than six months, 20% of the country’s neighborhoods are using Nextdoor. Our next launch will be in the U.K., and again, we are just getting started."
(Image source: blog.nextdoor.com)
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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.