If you were to sum up the story of Neighbourly in as few words, it would go something like this:
Our desire to connect with our neighbours goes back to mid-2013. It was when all founding partners (Victor, Shannon and Chris) came together with the idea of creating a uniform system in which neighbours could easily communicate with one another.
The idea of a website was put forth, but this never materialized due to each ones secular commitments.
The journey then takes a leap to July 17 2014. The neighbourhood of Upper Claremont, Cape Town was experiencing a spike in criminal activity. This mobilized the community to action. One of the founding members, Chris, was living in the area and so suggested the use of Whatsapp groups for communication. Within weeks hundreds of neighbours had requested to join the system he had created using the groups. It was really simple. Each city block would have its own private group. Each group would have an appointed Captain who would in turn also belong to the Zone Captains Group (now known as the Zone Watch for all). Here they would act as a loop and a filter of information between their neighbours and the Captains representing their neighbours nearby. This proved so popular and successful that by early 2015 that Chris and Victor were managing 60 + groups.
Here is where foresight came in. Within a month Chris mobilized fellow founders Shannon and Victor to create an automated version of what was created using the Whatsapp groups, the Block Watch system. There was indeed a need in the community for such a system. Shannon then proceeded to head up development of the iOS and Android app in conjunction with Hanno.
So the rest is history, they say, however it has not been an easy road. There are plenty more hurdles to come, however we take joy in creating a useful tool for our neighbours to use. We look forward to passing the benefits our neighbours and ourselves have enjoyed through the Neighbourly Block Watch system.
The Neighbourly App is available on both the iOS and Android platforms. The app is free but the service is not. You need to be a paying member in order to access the app and receive the benefits of the services Neighbourly offers.
Access to the app and services are limited to specific geographic areas and to specific people. As an example, where possible and based on intel, we prevent criminals or those with a serious criminal record from accessing our service. We may also refuse service to ‘neighbours’ who have a reputation of being un-neighbourly. We want all who use our app and service to have the best experience possible, both on and offline.
We will create the world’s foremost communication, intelligence and surveillance protocol for neighbours and neighbourhoods. It is through this medium that we believe we are able to transform neighbourhoods into happier and safer places in which to live.
We believe in the power of communication, that is, reliable, real-time communication. Great relationships, companies and empires have as their foundation a great communication system. The same can be applied to neighbourhoods. A great communication system has the power to transform a community from being mediocre into a force to be reckoned with. Upon this belief we will continue to build Neighbourly, constantly break barriers, innovate, seek positive change and disrupt the old and archaic systems we find in our path.
The founding members are Victor Schultz, Shannon Black and Chris da Silva. Victor has a background in finance, Shannon in developement and Chris in social media and startups.
The trio were later joined by Hanno and then Patrick. Hanno built the first version of the app and kickstarted its development. Patrick’s background has allowed him to drive the company’s branding and beautiful design.
Look out for our blog where we will be able to include you in our journey. Here is to happier and safer neighbourhoods.