Nextdoor is launching in the U.K. and plans to make some money in 2017


The neighbors-only social network is eyeing some international expansion.

Nextdoor is coming to a borough near you.

The social network, which lets users connect with others in their specific neighborhood, is launching in the United Kingdom on Tuesday as part of its push into Western Europe.

The San Francisco-based startup launched in the Netherlands in February, its first international market, but the U.K. is a much larger — and hopefully more profitable — area for Nextdoor to be in, explained CEO Nirav Tolia.

The company, founded in 2010, doesn’t sell ads just yet, at least not beyond a small handful of test campaigns. (It has no sales people, Tolia said.) But that’s all expected to change in 2017, he continued, when Nextdoor expects to “pursue monetization in earnest” and roll out native ads in its news feed. Having a presence in the U.K. should help; Europe is Facebook’s second most valuable region outside the U.S.

For now, though, Nextdoor is just trying to get people signed up and make sure it gets the basics down, like accurate neighborhood boundaries. Nextdoor has been piloting the service in the U.K. for a few months and already has about 45 percent of the neighborhoods mapped out, including most neighborhoods in the region’s most populous cities. But the U.K. has 30,000 neighborhoods, Tolia said, which means there are thousands more to go.

Nextdoor hopes that if all goes well in the U.K., it can start to expand further into Western Europe in 2017 and 2018. It’s also considering a similar expansion approach for other regions like Asia and South America — picking a tentpole country or city to get a foot in the door before taking on the rest of the region.

Because Nextdoor is neighborhood-focused, expanding internationally is not as simple as just adding a new language, Tolia said. Launching in a new country means sending employees to the new area to help understand local customs and cultures. Even simple things like how people write out their address or draw neighborhood boundaries play a major role in whether or not Nextdoor comes across as an understanding service, or like a tech company from Silicon Valley just planting its next flag.

“Our ambition is to get to all of them,” Tolia said. “The question is in what order.”


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