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Nextdoor, a San Francisco startup that operates social networks for more than 3,500 neighborhoods across the country, has raised $18.6 million in financing from a large syndicate of investors that includes Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, Greylock Partners, Shasta Ventures, Allen & Company and Pinnacle Ventures.

Among other things, consumers use Nextdoor to answer questions from their neighbors; promote community events; post weather and traffic bulletins; and report crime and emergency alerts. In addition, neighbors can sell goods through the site in an online marketplace similar to Craigslist, except in the case of Nextdoor you have the knowledge (and comfort) that buyers or sellers live nearby.

“Facebook is the best way to connect to friends and family, and LinkedIn is the best way to connect to business contacts — now Nextdoor has created the best way to connect to neighbors,” said Greylock’s David Sze in a release.

Zillow co-founder Rich Barton, a venture partner at Benchmark, is an investor and board member at Nextdoor. As we’ve noted, Zillow has experimented with its own social networking services for connecting neighbors. However, the online real estate powerhouse now appears to be moving more aggressively into tools for real estate agents rather than more consumer-focused social networking efforts such as the one being provided by Nextdoor.

The company is led by Nirav Tolia, a former Yahoo employee who went on to co-found Epinions.

Previously on GeekWire: Rich Barton lends hand to Nextdoor, a social network for neighbors

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