San Diego Business Journal

Since the Los Angeles stay-at-home order was put in place weeks ago, San Diego-based KinderUS, a neighborhood app platform for local communities, has seen a surge in activity to assist the elderly during this crisis. 

Stepping Up

As a result, the company’s user growth has increased by 70% since March, according to KinderUS’s Founder and CEO Hunter Hillman, who was recently recognized by Eric Garcetti, mayor of LA for its efforts alongside the Central Hollywood Neighborhood Council to deliver essential goods for Hollywood residents.  

In Hollywood alone, over 30 KinderUS members stepped up to deliver groceries and essential supplies to nearly 300 seniors, according to the company. A tight-knit platform, on average, it takes fewer than 10 minutes for someone to respond to an “ask” on the platform.  

Now Serving L.A.

Founded in 2019, the one-year-old startup’s mission is to strengthen and recreate the strong community bonds that many adults experienced in their childhood years. So far, Kinder is primarily bootstrapped and is only servicing the Los Angeles area with plans to expand with continued growth. 

“Already, hundreds of people in Los Angeles are using KinderUS to either share garden produce, find conversation partners for language learning, making music together and more.” Hillman said, “Kinder is creating authentic relationships in neighborhoods; half of all “asks” and “offers” on the platform have led to in-person meetups.”

Creating Trust

At its core, Kinder is a platform for creating trust in neighborhoods that’s centered around a pay-it-forward marketplace for simple goods and services aiming to rebuild community support networks, both on and offline. 

Instead of providing a community forum where platforms are used more negatively and lack trust, KinderUS was created to get people to connect face-to-face and rewarding them in return for making real-life interactions. For example, users might offer to pick up things at the grocery store for neighbors, exchanging items and making recommendations. 

“Right now, the current crisis has radically changed everything about what we’re doing, because there’s been a massive surge in interest in mutual aid groups.” Hunter said, “A few examples of exchanges that have happened on our Kinder platform was someone needing groceries but they weren’t able to leave the house. Another example was a parent looking for someone to tutor their child in math.”

Early Stage Startup

Still a very early stage startup, Kinder primary goal is getting as many people to use the platform as possible. Once it hit its user growth milestone, the company plans to monetize its app by allowing users to pay a small fee to post “paying job” opportunities on its platform. With freelancers and small business owners finding it more difficult to advertise on a social media website like Facebook and Instagram, Kinder could provide a more cost-effective way to sell and connect with relevant customers and people within their local community.