Matthes Scheinhardt (Co-Founder), Ina Brunk (Co-Founder), Michael Vollmann (Co-Founder), and Christian Vollmann (Co-Founder) © Anne Schönharting
What inspired you to found your startup?
Christian Vollmann has been dealing with what neighbourhood means since 2013. After a move with his family, he felt the need to get to know their anonymous neighbourhood. In short, he launched an online forum for his street and made contacts that still exist to this day. Since then, he hasn’t been able to let go of the subject: real people, real community – with digital help. With his co-founders, he is aiming to bring neighbours together.
How do you define success for yourself and your company?
We aim to build and run nothing less than the third big category of social network in Europe. For a change, we want this digital-infrastructure platform to NOT be dominated by a US player (who does not care about European privacy standards and avoids paying European taxes). In order to succeed we need to scale quickly and build a self-sustaining, profitable business around hyperlocal communities in all major European countries. We are in it for the long run. Selling out is not an option for us.
Is there anything you’d do differently if you could do it again?
No. Always look forward, never back.
What problem does your product solve?
90% of the transactions happening at nebenan.de would never have taken place without us. We break through the filter bubbles prevailing in the net and bring together people who would otherwise never have met.
Where do you see your company in 1/5/10 years?
We would like to become the all-encompassing centre for people in Germany when it comes to the topic of neighborhood. Whether private exchange between neighbours, social engagement, information channel for local institutions or relevant interaction of the local business with the local residents.
How are you different?
Nebenan focuses exclusively on the neighbourhood. With the help of a verification process, only residents are given access to the geographically limited neighbourhoods. The platform creates a trusting environment where neighbours can meet and feel at home. For the users it is therefore about community and not about the self. As the first German neighbourhood portal, we are TÜV-certified.
How often does your product/service show up in a user’s day or week?
Depending on how involved you get with your neighbourhood, daily or most likely weekly. We want to be the one-stop solution for all neighbourly matters.
Impact: how are you doing good and building a better future?
We are convinced that by revitalizing neighbourhoods and encouraging exchange, shared activities and mutual assistance among neighbours we can contribute to a positive change in society towards a more humane, sustainable and secure living environment that offers a higher quality of life for everyone.
How has the startup scene in Berlin changed?
Less copying, more real innovation, bolder founders, more innovation. More founders who try to solve real problems. But still way to go!
What are the pros and cons of launching your startup from Berlin?
We call Berlin our home and our product is a service for Germans. So there was no doubt we would launch nebenan.de in Berlin.
Bonus Question: Anything else that we need to know about you?
We are a hybrid organisation: Good Hood GmbH is a for-profit, it’s 100% subsidiary “nebenan.de Stiftung gGmbH” is a non-profit. We try to combine the best of both worlds.
We have the shortest and most easy-to-understand AGB in the German speaking internet. This is TÜV certified by the way.
Nebenan was featured in “The Hundert Vol. 10 – Startups of Berlin“, October 2017.