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The South African digital platform for physical communities, OurHood, has revealed that there are more than 1 000 neighbourhoods currently using its service to share everything from crime alerts to lost pet notices.
In March this year when OurHood raised its second round of funding, co-founder Bruce Good told Ventureburn that it had 600 neighbourhoods using its online network. This shows that the startup has had massive traction within the last few months.
Officially launched in early 2014, OurHood is a free web-based app that includes features such as a noticeboard, a quick-access page for emergency services, local deals, as well as the ability to share and trade goods and services.
In a press release sent to Ventureburn, Good explains how this private website for neighbourhoods has changed how communities operate in South Africa:
Before OurHood, there was nowhere for neighbours to safely connect in real time. If, for instance, someone wanted to ask an urgent question about neighbourhood security, loadshedding, or advice on a good local plumber, there was no place to do it.
The co-founder adds that before OurHood, communities have had to rely on Facebook or WhatsApp groups, where users aren’t verified and lacks features. “WhatsApp groups are massively inefficient and the constant alerts drives users to distraction,” he says.
Each prospective OurHood user must verify that they live in the neighbourhood by uploading a utility bill during the very quick registration process.
“The response from South African citizens has been staggering — and speaks to how crucial a site like this is in building social cohesion and promoting safety,” adds Good, who believes that platforms like OurHood are the next step in social media revolution.