Nextdoor: the good, bad and ugly


October 22, 2020

PLUS: Hot patents and a Q&A with Guy Raz.

October 22, 2020
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The Big Idea
Nextdoor gif

Nextdoor is looking at a $4B+ IPO. Is it ready?

In an incredible technological achievement, Nextdoor has made being a nosy neighbor socially acceptable.

Founded in 2008, the SF-based private firm dubs itself as a “neighborhood hub,” where trusted connections can exchange goods, services, and info.

Today, 1 in 4 US neighborhoods reportedly use the platform.

Nextdoor wants to ride the ‘going public’ wave

According to Bloomberg, the firm is eyeing a valuation between $4B and $5B in a public listing. Last year, it raised $170m at a $2.1B valuation.

Actual revenue figures are unclear, but the firm makes money in 3 ways:

  • Sponsored Ads: Local and regional businesses advertise in the newsfeed
  • Neighborhood Sponsorship: Local home service experts and real estate brokers can promote themselves in certain zip codes
  • Local Deals: Neighborhood businesses can advertise special offers to members in their area

Run by Square’s former CFO (Sarah Friar), Nextdoor is aiming to create a hyper-localized advertising empire (e.g., Yelp, but it’s your neighbors).

The pandemic has brought out the good and bad

Back in March, Nextdoor’s number of daily active users surged 80% month-over-month — largely thanks to the platform’s efforts to provide localized safety updates, help elderly neighbors, and support local businesses.

Months later, in the wake of George Floyd’s death, the company was mired in controversy around Black Lives Matter-related posts.

For years, Nextdoor has faced accusations of racial profiling on its platform. In response, it has changed its moderation policy and enlisted more Black moderators.

New Nextdoor products are trying to right the ship

Among them:

  • A “Kindness Reminder” to stop abusive posts before they start
  • Help Maps that give an interactive map for people to offer real-time help

They should move fast: Facebook just started trialing a similar service called Neighborhood.

Even more worrying than Facebook, some users don’t take the platform seriously. An extremely popular Twitter account (Best of Nextdoor) combs the platform far and wide, curating ridiculous posts.

Maybe it is technologically impossible to make “nosy neighbors” cool.

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Snippets

  • ThredUp, the clothing resale platform, is also looking to go public. No word yet on whether Facebook will copy them.
  • Amazon is on pace to do 50k COVID tests a day at its facilities. Scott Galloway says a “vaccinated supply chain” would create one of the best business upsides ever.
  • BitPal: PayPal will now let you buy and sell Bitcoin. There’s a waitlist to use the feature but — with 26m merchants on the platform — it’s a big mainstream move for $BTC.
  • Over 400k people watched Rep. AOC live stream the insanely popular game Among Us.
  • Yo, WTF?… “Wisconsin report confirms Foxconn’s so-called LCD factory isn’t real”
Q&A
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Guy Raz tells us how to live an interesting life

Noah Kagan — a longtime friend of The Hustle — is the mind behind OkDork, a YouTube channel which draws amazing lessons from 8-figure founders. To date, it has 85k subs and you can subscribe here.

Kagan recently did a Q&A with Guy Raz, host of the popular business podcast How I Built This. Kagan took time to ask Raz a few questions specifically for The Hustle’s readers:

What is an interesting life?

Doing things that are interesting to me and keep my brain firing. Journalism, reporting, interviewing people, and telling stories did that for me.

All that, over time, evolved into what I do now.

How can more people live an interesting life?

It’s very, very simple. In our culture, we elevate intelligence and think it’s so important. The reality is intelligence is incredibly overrated.

Having an interesting life is just choosing to be curious. This means exposing yourself to ideas, to books, to themes, to shows, to people.

I first interviewed a cosmetics founder a few years ago and was not interested at all in cosmetics. So all I did was choose to be curious and now I am endlessly fascinated with cosmetics.

What is the perfect Guy Raz dinner party question?

One question is not enough. You can ask: What’s your greatest fear? Your biggest desire? Your biggest failure? But those questions don’t always elicit great answers.

The reality is that every single person has a story to tell. They’ve gone through a crisis, had heartache, suffered loss, etc.

What I’ve found is when you really know someone’s story, it’s really hard to not empathize with them. In a perfect world, we would all know each other’s stories. So at a perfect dinner party, I would want everyone to tell their life story.

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Patent It
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One way to see the future? Track corporate patents (Pt. 2)

Trends member Neer Sharma has been rounding up the best corporate patents every week for his must-read newsletter Patent Drop.

Impressively, one of his newsletters highlighted Amazon’s palm reader before it was announced.

We highlighted some of his best “drops” a month ago. Back by popular demand, here’s Round 2:

Apple: Keyboards for AR/VR headsets

Apple is creating a way for AR (or VR) users to project a keyboard that they can “see” and use on any surface.

Interestingly, the text from typing doesn’t appear on a screen, but can be viewed right on top of the keyboard. You can finally write passive-aggressive emails from anywhere (well, I guess you already can)!

Amazon: Visual search feature

The ecommerce giant is looking at how to improve visual search by allowing users to customize the exact look of the product they are interested in.

In this patent filing, a customer interested in female shoes can pick exactly what they are looking for (e.g., strap or no strap, heel height) and then run a visual search for it.

NVIDIA: Creating bots for gamers

Sharma shared this one exclusively with readers of The Hustle.

The chip making giant started out making graphic chips for the gaming industry. Now, it wants to create bot versions of popular players that other gamers can practice against.

Say you want to play against gaming legend Ninja in a game, but he’s unavailable. A bot can learn Ninja’s style by analyzing all his games and create a bot for you to play against.

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Picture Me RV-ing
RV

The ‘Airbnb of RV Rentals’ just raised $100m+

This year’s hottest vacay isn’t a plane ticket to some faraway beach — it’s a road trip in a recreational vehicle.

This boost in interest is great for companies in the space: RVShare — dubbed the “Airbnb of  RV Rentals” — has seen a 16x increase of rental traffic on its platform since April.

The startup just raised $100m+ on the back of exploding interest

According to TechCrunch, RVShare isn’t the only one getting on the action:

  • Outdoorsy — which has 68k rental units, including RVs, motorhomes, and camper van trailers — has raised a total of $88m
  • Cabana merges #vanlife and hotels (it has raised $3.5m)
  • Kibbo is “turning RV parks into a photo-worthy version of the hashtag vanlife”

The RV life was trending before COVID

A previous Trends report did a teardown of Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS), the largest RV campground owner in America.

Per ELS, several macro tailwinds are supporting the industry:

  • Through 2030, 10k boomers will turn 65 every day, providing a robust customer base for RVs.
  • Millennials and Gen X combined have also grown to represent more than half of RV buyers.

Want to hear more? Try Trends for $1.

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