[News] Nextdoor Raises $60 Million Funding Round

Here’s a highlight of some of the top local-business-related news of the week:

[Social Media News] Nextdoor Raises $60 Million in Funding

News Source: Mashable

Nextdoor is a local social network designed specifically for neighborhoods. This week, the company announced a $60 million funding round.

The social network aims to serve small, neighborhood communities, connecting neighbors in a way that global giants like Facebook and Twitter can’t. These neighborhood communities often serve as a hybrid of Craigslist, Yelp and LinkedIn. Users can get recommendations and information on a variety of local topics (everything from babysitters to local disaster alerts).

There are over 22,000 neighborhoods served by Nextdoor today. With this latest round of funding, that number only stands to increase over the coming months.

Key Takeaway: Unlike some of the larger social networks, Nextdoor is a highly local resource. The potential opportunity to spread the word about your business (or have your neighbors do so for you) is great. Check out the site and see if your community has joined yet; if so, you may want to get in the game early and create a profile.

[Auto Industry News] Meet Openbay, the New OpenTable for Auto Repairs

News Source: Boston Globe

Cambridge start-up OpenBay released its first mobile app and website on Monday. OpenBay’s business model is similar to OpenTable’s restaurant reservations and reviews: Car owners can solicit competitive bids for repairs and check ratings and reviews of the shop or dealership they’re considering. They’ll also be able to book an appointment and pay for services, all within the app.

The system is free to users; business owners pay 10% of the total repair bill as a service fee to OpenBay. The program has been pilot-tested by 400 service providers and over 600 car owners so far. 

Key Takeaway: Customers are focused on convenience, value, and quality these days. OpenBay fills all of those needs for the auto industry. If you have an auto repair business, this might be a service you want to try out in 2014. 

[Social Media News] Google+ Rolls out Updates to Hangouts, Photos, and Introduces Custom URLs

News Sources: FastCompany and Mashable

Google+ rolled out a variety of updates this week. A few highlights:

  • Hangouts now include a new geo-location feature that adds a user’s location to a message using Google Maps. They will also support SMS messaging and GIFs.
  • Photo improvements include an auto-erase editing feature, enhanced photo search, and a new slideshow feature called Auto Awesome Video.
  • Users can finally choose a custom URL for their Profile, rather than using Google’s auto-generated string of numbers.

Key Takeaway: In spite of ongoing skepticism, Google+ is one of the largest social networks, and it’s not going away any time soon. These new features will help you get the most out of Google+ to engage your fans, boost your SEO, and help people discover your business.

Other news catch your eye this week? Leave a comment and let us know!