Australia’s first neighbourhood social network ‘Nabo’ has been launched after securing $2.25 million in funding from investors including Reinventure Group, Westpac and Seven West Media.
It is founded by Adam Rigby, who is also the co-founder of JumpOnIt and former CEO of LivingSocial.
The new free social media platform enables users and community organisations to instantly connect online with others in their suburb.
“It’s a safe environment because individuals connect with residents in their area only, via hyperlocal private websites. The benefits are enormous in terms of building better and healthier communities, reducing crime and connecting people,” Rigby said.
Rigby said Nabo was modeled on a similar social network in the US, called Nextdoor, which was founded in 2010. Nextdoor attracted around $US90 million in funding.
During the past two months, Nabo has been in pilot mode in 19 suburbs across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Newcastle. It has seen neighbours connect and help one another on a range of issues including a fruit and vegetable co-op, garage sales, and a local street clean up.
Nabo will now extend to all communities across Australia, with the aim of reaching a million users by the end of 2015 as well as have 60 councils and around 6000 local community groups.
“We are working with local councils and community groups to enable them to use the platform to communicate with their communities. We currently have councils in Brisbane and Sydney piloting the program before we launch nationally,” he said.
Reinventure Group co-founder, Simon Cant, said Nabo fitted in with its investment strategy.
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“We’ve invested right from startup in a proven model led by a proven entrepreneur that’s a great fit with Westpac’s focus on supporting local communities. We are confident that the partnership between Nabo and Westpac will help build a significant new part of the digital landscape in Australia,” Cant said.
To join Nabo, individuals sign up under their street address and real name, and can explore the site for 30 days until Nabo verifies their address.