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Startup Showcase: Streetlife

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Streetlife CEO Limvirak Chea talks about they local social network taking on Facebook, its use of AWS and why it’s based in London

What is your company and what do you do?

Streetlife is a social network for neighbours, created to help local people connect and build stronger communities. Over 1.2 million residents, community groups, local authorities and businesses across Britain use Streetlife to share local news, events and recommendations.

I joined Streetlife as CEO this summer, bringing my experience on the commercial side and on international expansion.  My role is to hire the best talent, empower our team to do a great job, and prepare the company to scale.

Tell us a little about your career to date?

Before Streetlife I was at Eventbrite, an online ticketing company pushing technology in a traditional sector.  I was in charge of growing the business in the UK and across Europe, building a sales and business team across four countries (UK, Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands).

streetlife-android-app-1If you look at the music industry now, people prioritise seeing their favourite artists live and building memories with their friends, over simply purchasing music as we used to.

Helping to bring people together at live events was a key motivation for me; similarly, at Streetlife we’re bringing neighbours together not just online but also in the real-world.

Prior to Eventbrite I had several roles in the mobile world (Google and InMobi).  Mobile is an important growth area for social networks; we’re already seeing high mobile and tablet usage at Streetlife and I want to continue to build upon this.

I’m also an angel investor in Citymapper, a mobile transport app that uses open data to simplify urban travel and has achieved great scale in cities across the globe.

What services or products do you offer and how will businesses and/or consumers benefit?

Streetlife is a place for every memberlimvirak-chea of the community to have a voice.  For neighbours, it’s a free and simple place to connect and talk.  For groups and charities, it’s the perfect way to reach a local audience, share events, recruit volunteers and supporters.

For local authorities, Streetlife facilitates open dialogue with residents, providing a platform to inform, listen and respond to the community.  And for local businesses, there’s no more relevant place to promote their services and build a loyal local following.
A large proportion of the user-generated content on Streetlife is transactional, whether that’s exchanging goods, skills or advice, so we’ve become a natural marketplace.  We’re seeing fast growth among local businesses, in particular home service providers.  Today over 20,000 have created a page on Streetlife enabling them to raise their profile, target members within specific local areas or administrative boundaries, and gather and showcase trustworthy recommendations from the community.

Tell us one thing your company does that no one else can do?

In a world where global connection is second nature, and social media commonly replaces face-to-face exchanges, it’s easy to become isolated from our immediate community.  By linking people based on their postcode, we’re facilitating everyday exchanges both online and in the real-world, from help finding a lost cat to giving away a sofa, finding a trusty plumber to joining a local five-aside football team.  Streetlife is strengthening local communities.

Where is the company based and why?

Our team is based in London, where we can attract the best talent and be close to investors.  London is where the idea for Streetlife first came about and we first piloted the site, but we now have active communities in every major town across Britain.

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