South African private digital platform for neighbourhoods OurHood has launched its official app on Android and iOS after a second funding round took its total raised capital to ZAR2.5 million (US$200,000).
OurHood launched in May last year, providing private local neighbourhood networks that allow neighbours to access information specifically relevant to them.
Disrupt Africa reported in December the online platform is designed to facilitate conversations between neighbours, and is broken down into several sections meaning users can skip directly to the things they need, unlike in more disorganised Facebook and WhatsApp groups.
Having until now been web-based, OurHood – which is active in over 600 neighbourhoods in South Africa – has gone mobile with the launch of its app following a second funding round from European investors.
“People can now sign up with the app by just taking a picture of their utility bill to verify their address,” said OurHood founder Bruce Good. “Previously, people keen to sign up had to send an official postcard via mail. Considering South Africa’s post office woes, this didn’t always work out all too well.”
The startup has already made some revenues and is targeting ZAR1.5 million (US$130,000) by the end of its first year.
Good told Disrupt Africa that though people already used services like Facebook and WhatsApp to communicate with their local communities this was more due to a lack of any other option than the fact they did a good job.
“That’s probably one of our biggest challenges, that people use those sites,” Good said. “But they could be a lot more effective, and that’s where we come in. We’ve created something that’s locally much more relevant. You can go on it whenever you like and you know that the information will be relevant to you.”