A Social Network For Neighbors — Former Googlers Launch Yatown

"We see our neighbors and wave at them all the time, but are limited to just a few houses nearby, and have no convenient way to connect with others who may know what's going on with that downtown construction, or what that traffic jam was all about, or who's the best plumber around."

The two co-founders of Yatown, Christopher Nguyen and Kevin Lim, who are former Google creators, and successful Internet industry experts, recognized the opportunity and created Yatown as a local social media solution specifically for neighbors to connect and share information where they live.

“Yatown was born out of our own frustration in connecting to our neighborhoods online. We had to locate obscure mailing lists or antiquated and poorly maintained websites,” said CEO of Yatown, Christopher Nguyen. “People have been trying to solve this problem through services like Ning and other build-your-own-social-network sites, or Facebook groups. These approaches don’t work for three reasons: they’re too much work to set up, too difficult for neighbors to find, and people do not associate existing sites with their geographic neighborhood.”

“We see our neighbors and wave at them all the time, but are limited to just a few houses nearby, and have no convenient way to connect with others who may know what’s going on with that downtown construction, or what that traffic jam was all about, or who’s the best plumber around,” said Lim. “There is no easy way to announce a garage sale to the neighborhood online, no easy way to promote the school fundraiser other than using a mailing list and no easy way to reach out to the neighborhood and campaign for school-funding measures.”

Yatown is being described as the “Facebook for Neighborhoods,” by connecting neighbors and strengthening neighborhoods over the U.S. According to the CFO of Cox Interactive Media, 80% of U.S. disposable income is spent within some 10 miles of the home. Yatown hopes to draw from that resource.

Available now in 192 thousand neighborhoods across America, Yatown is setting a precedent of bringing communities closer together by re-acquainting neighbors by providing a single, well known place for users to go and immediately “see” one another in an online “townsquare.”

Neighbors will automatically be grouped into neighborhoods without any special set up required of them. Yatown hopes to build the neighborhood connection even more with a strong emphasis on trust and social responsibility, offering opportunities for users to promote pet sitting, babysitters, garage sales and events.

The social network will provide tools to help neighbors raise funds for schools and community organizations. Sponsoring local community projects with direct grants, as well as donate a portion of its revenues to community projects is also part of the plan. Another goal is to be able to reach residents down to single households in hopes of establishing Yatown as an important way for candidates in the 2012 election to reach their constituents.

Yatown has huge plans for its platform and plans to become the #1 platform for all things local. The company is backed by investments from an impressive roster of former and current executives of Yahoo, Salesforce.com and TiE Angels.

I went to Yatown to register. Although it appears to be a simple process, the system froze up on me when I tried to choose my password. Then, it warmed up to me, and now I am registered and meeting my neighbors.