South African startup OurHood, which provides private local neighbourhood networks that allow neighbours to access information specifically relevant to them, has raised a new funding round to begin marketing nationally.
Launched in May 2014, OurHood has already raised a number of funding rounds. The latest investment, from private, Johannesburg-based investors, will allow it to start national marketing initiatives after having grown through word of mouth thus far.
The startup has also brought development of its product in-house, having outsourced to a third party company for the first two years of its life. Managing director Bruce Good told Disrupt Africa this had been an excellent move.
“Our internal development team has since written our own, new API, which is delivering a much quicker, and more stable platform,” he said.
“It will also allow integration with third party sites and partners. We are in talks with a number of security and insurance businesses, for example, to facilitate better communication around crime alerts. This is possible through our API.”
Another new feature on OurHood is a ‘Groups’ section. Many neighbourhoods use WhatsApp to communicate, but this has its limitations. OurHood’s ‘Groups’ section can be set up for individual streets, apartment blocks or running groups, and work as a live chat.
“Unlike other mainstream messaging apps, OurHood Groups does not require you to divulge your contact number or email address to other users. Because you are already a verified neighbour, all you need to do is log in and start talking,” Good said.