Singaporean start-up, NextBlock, has secured SGD500,000 in a pre-seed funding round led by Plug and Play APAC. The round had five key investors and some other notable names included Farquhar Venture Capital and Angel Investors such as Tan Min-Liang, CEO of Razer.
The fresh capital has already been used to kickstart app operations in Singapore, deploy user acquisition strategies, and build clear solid foundations in Singapore. These investors will aid NextBlock in either gaining access to new and bigger markets, or build and scale the company’s business networks in the region. They bring along a wealth of experiences and often come in as mentors to help steer the ship in the right direction.
NextBlock was founded by Darrell Zhang, Willynn Ng, Mike Nguyen, and Bryan Lee.
Headquartered in Singapore, NextBlock aims to be a hyperlocal, digital platform that is designed towards fostering neighbour-to-neighbour communication. Users will be able to post neighbourhood updates, missing or found pets, items for sale, and the network can be used to alert everyone about suspicious activity and small crimes. It functions as a hub where neighbours routinely ask for recommendations for home repairs, real estate and maintenance, restaurant recommendations, horticultural activities, food recipes or even a SkillsFuture group.
NextBlock is free, and built to empower neighbours to come together and feel comfortable with sharing information with one another. The only caveat is that all users must verify that they live within the neighbourhood’s postal code, either through a verification code, or through uploading a proof of residency that reflects your address.
As per the source, in the initial rollout, NextBlock already had features such as the “My Estate” tab, where users can connect closely with their neighbours within the same estate cluster, the “Explore” tab, where users can explore trending topics or happenings over at the other districts, and forming of interest groups within the app. Since the initial launch on 1 June 2022, NextBlock has already onboarded 15,000 users, built 980 estates and formed 280 groups to connect like-minded people together, making them the fastest growing and leading neighbourhood app in Singapore.
With the new funding, NextBlock reportedly aims to add a “Marketplace” tab to facilitate its users with the buying, selling, or blessing of items within their neighbourhood. Currently, users are already doing this via normal posts and this module will seek to improve the entire user experience. Additionally, the company is also looking at building a “Merchant” module to accommodate the needs and requirements of local, homegrown businesses who are already existing users of the app. Other than building more app features to benefit the community and neighbours, NextBlock is also looking at deepening its domestic footprint into other SEA markets particularly Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia.
The Digital Marketing Market size in SEA stands at USD 8.45 Billion this year, with approximately 59% coming from mobile-based advertisements. While this number is set to reach more than USD 12 Billion in 2026, NextBlock’s key priority is to ensure that the app brings value to the community.
“The key priority of NextBlock at the moment is all about building an app that brings value to the community, with features that neighbours will love and tell their other neighbours and friends about. We firmly believe that with the value that we can bring to the table, monetization will not be a problem in time to come, especially when we can tap upon means such as sponsored ads that local, homegrown businesses can utilise,” said Darrell Zhang, Co-Founder of NextBlock.
Press release received on mail.