Townsquared, a private, community-based social network for small business owners, said it raised $11.05 million in Series B funding from lead investors Sierra Ventures and Intuit. The round brings Townsquared's funding total to $16.4 million.
The essence of Townsquared is not new. It's similar to Nextdoor, the private social community that gives people a way to stay informed about the happenings in their neighborhood. Townsquared does the same, except for businesses and their communities.
Small business owners gain access to something akin to a private discussion board, where they can alert neighboring businesses about things like supplier issues, rent increases, shoplifters, and local ordinances and taxes. They can discuss local politics and minimum wage concerns, recommend accountants and marketing techniques, or plan community events and shop shares.
The platform is not indexed on Google and every Townsquared user is verified upon signup -- creating an environment where conversations remain off the record and between a select group of community members.
Since its launch in 2013, Townsquared has slowly expanded to more communities across the U.S. and claims to have increased membership by 115 percent over the last year. The company says it will use this latest cash injection to expand into five to 10 additional cities.
Rohit Prakash, co-Founder and CEO of Townsquared, said some neighborhoods where Townsquared is available have seen as much as 70 percent of local merchants participating, in addition to local government, police departments and business organizations.
"This is why we've strategically selected our launch markets and focused on expansion within them rather than launching quickly into new cities," he said.
The company is also announcing the hiring of Andy Bryson as its new VP of product. Bryson was formerly the director of product management and growth at SurveyMonkey.