Irish-led Nextdoor receives warm welcome from investors on public debut

Shares in the company led by Sarah Friar surged 40% in its first hour of trading

Nextdoor chief executive Sarah Friar at the MoneyConf conference in Dublin in 2018

Nextdoor chief executive Sarah Friar at the MoneyConf conference in Dublin in 2018

 

Nextdoor, the San Francisco-headquartered social network company led by Northern Ireland executive Sarah Friar, received a warm welcome from investors after going public yesterday.

Shares of the company surged 40 per cent in its first hour of trading on the New York Stock Exchange with the stock closing up 17 per cent at $13.01.

Founded in 2010, Nextdoor is behind a neighbourhood-focused social networking site that allows users to find out about everything from break-ins to available babysitters.

Ms Friar, who comes from Sion Mills, Co Tyrone, joined Nextdoor at the end of 2018. She was previously chief financial officer at Jack Dorsey’s payments company Square, during which time she helped steer it to a public listing in late 2015.

Nextdoor announced plans to list in July as part of its $4.3 million special purpose acquisition company (Spac) with Khosla Ventures.

Launched in the United States in 2011, Nextdoor allows members to seek advice from their neighbours on anything from babysitters to local sports clubs.

The platform has gained in popularity as a result of the coronavirus pandemic as people sought new ways to connect with their communities during lockdown. Nextdoor had 63 million users in mid-2021, up from 48 million in 2019.

Ms Friar said her focus is on “the long run,” not the stock price. “It’s all about execution,” she said in an interview on Bloomberg TV. “We’ve aggregated the neighbourhood. Now let’s welcome other businesses that can bring to those neighbours what they need.”

A Spac is a shell company that seeks to merge with a private company and in the process takes it public. Spac mergers gained popularity last year, but are experiencing a slowdown due to weak investor appetite and greater regulatory scrutiny.- Additional reporting: Bloomberg