Today, we had an in-depth and very interesting interview with Mr. ‘Sean Connolly‘; Director of Engagement at the US (Kansas City)-based start-up “Neighbor.ly”.
“Neighbor.ly” is a civic crowd-funding platform that helps funding community projects.
Below is the full interview that we have conducted with Mr. ‘Connolly’, regarding his start-up company “Neighbor.ly”;
1. What is it exactly that you do and what “Neighbor.ly” is all about?
Neighbor.ly is the funding platform for community projects. We help fund civic projects that usually can’t be put on the tax base but are immensely beneficial to the community. Neighbor.ly allows for cities to pre-capitalize projects instead of relying on debt and borrowed federal dollars. Projects can scale so US cities, community organizations and other civic-minded entities can all act as project owners. We’re invested in improving communities and we’re giving cities a new option to do just that.
2. When has “Neighbor.ly” been founded? And what stage is “Neighbor.ly” currently at?
Neighbor.ly was founded in March of 2012 and launched in early July of 2012. The platform is in an open, working test phase in which listed projects are live and are accepting real dollars. Software is continually being improved to provide better functionality and streamline the application and approval process. In October, we launched a skatepark in Portland, OR which marks our first national project. Our backlog continues to grow and we now have well over 20 project proposals from around the country.
3. What is “Neighbor.ly”‘s business model and how does it work?
In order to continue helping cities across the nation, Neighbor.ly takes a 5% platform fee from each project. Currently, we take a very proactive role in helping projects to get on the platform. In the future, we imagine having a streamlined application process and an option for cities to use our services as a consultant, in which case we would charge a consulting fee.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
Jase Wilson (CEO) and Briston Davidge (COO), met back in 2003 when they formed the civic-minded web development company Luminopolis with backgrounds in city planning and development and programming. The two eventually moved to OfficePort, a colocation space in the heart of the Crossroads in downtown Kansas City. Chris Parrott (CFO), a certified public accountant working out of OfficePort, has advised dozens of ventures on balancing short-term operations with long-term vitality and value growth. Shaul Jolles (CBDO), a real estate developer and founder of OfficePort, has extensive networks and a business sense that made him ideal for the role he plays at Neighbor.ly. Patrick Hosty (Advisor) is a Kansas City native with a background in public finance and corporate banking.
5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?
Neighbor.ly is the first funding platform in the US focused on community and civic projects. Other crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter are interested in helping individuals while we are interested in helping whole communities. We host projects strictly by civic-minded organizations because we’re interested in improving the very communities we live in. We understand the power of all levels of a community gathering to support a cause. This is why we encourage donations and support not just from individuals but from companies, institutions and organizations as well. These entities essentially get to vote with their dollars to put money toward projects they really care about in their own communities.