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Nextdoor Acquires Citizen Engagement Platform Neighborland

Months before it amped up its local government efforts with a new mobile app for public agencies, the community-based social media platform Nextdoor had bought a competitor whose focus was citizen engagement.

Nextdoor phone app
Months before Nextdoor announced a new mobile app to help public agencies with citizen engagement, it had quietly acquired a competitor in that space, Colorado-based Neighborland.

Both companies have made the GovTech 100 since launching in 2011, but the overlap in business interests between Nextdoor and Neighborland boils down to citizen engagement, being only part of the former and the entire focus of the latter. Nextdoor started with a website in 2011 followed by an app for the general public in 2013, building a social media platform that now serves 260,000 neighborhoods across all 50 states and 10 other countries. As Head of Product Tatyana Mamut explained to Government Technology last year, Nextdoor’s public agency users have long been able to communicate with members through the website, but the new mobile app in February was intended to make that easier.

Neighborland is not a social media platform but a software tool for creating an organized dialog with citizens around specific proposals or issues. As of last year, it had been involved in over 200 projects and about 50 government agencies as of last year, and it recently launched an app for transportation agencies as well.

Neighborland co-founder and CEO Dan Parham confirmed in an email that talks between the two companies started in September. He said he is now leading Nextdoor’s public agency team, and his co-founder Tee Parham is leading a new product and engineering team in Colorado.

Nextdoor spokeswoman Edie Campbell-Urban said in an email that the acquisition occurred in late 2019 and will help the company build out its products for public agencies.

“Nextdoor and Neighborland share a passion of empowering people to build strong communities and shape the development of their neighborhoods, and together will deliver even more tools to our public agency partners,” she wrote. “Dan Parham … brings extensive experience working directly with local, state and federal agencies. Dan is now head of public agencies at Nextdoor and leading the charge in working with all of our agency partners.”

The transaction followed Nextdoor’s massive fundraising haul of $170 million in 2019, according to Crunchbase. Terms of the sale are not yet public.

In what may be a busy spring for Nextdoor, the company has entered into two other significant partnerships: last week, with the office of California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom, which will use Nextdoor to disseminate information during the COVID-19 crisis; this week, with the National Governors Association, for the same purpose.

A news release from Nextdoor said the number of public agency posts on its platform has tripled since the beginning of March, while the company partnered with thousands of public agencies, from regional and state departments of health to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Red Cross.

“Accurate information is critical in our fight against the spread of this virus,” said NGA Chief Operating Officer LeAnne Wilson, in a statement. “Working to ensure families can get accurate information from trusted local sources will help engage a stronger community response.”

Andrew Westrope is managing editor of the Center for Digital Education. Before that, he was a staff writer for Government Technology, and previously was a reporter and editor at community newspapers. He has a bachelor’s degree in physiology from Michigan State University and lives in Northern California.
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