Nextdoor's CEO Nirav Tolia is vacating his position

The sudden leadership change puts the promising community-based social network, and its real estate products, into question

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After overseeing Nextdoor’s push into online real estate, CEO and co-founder Nirav Tolia is stepping down from the social networking company, raising concerns about its future, according to a report in Recode.

Nextdoor is a neighborhood-based social media site that lets people who live in the same community discuss local issues within a private network. The site launched in 2011 and began offering a listing search feature and ad products to real estate agents in 2017. In between, it addressed concerns about handling members who were racist or engaged in racial profiling.

Last year, Tolia explained his rationale for potentially wading into real estate marketing, noting that real estate content is “valuable content” for residents who interact on the platform and that multiple listing service (MLS) data is “easy to get a hold of.”

The marketing opportunities that Nextdoor later unveiled let agents buy ads that show up in local users’ news feeds, daily emails and a new real estate section. Brokers can also pay for their listings to appear on the site. More recently, Nextdoor rolled out home valuations powered by HouseCanary.

Nextdoor has grown to serve 200,000 neighborhoods across five countries, including nine out of 10 neighborhoods in the U.S., after launching about eight years ago, Tolia said in a blog post announcing his departure.

The “role of the CEO needs to change” as Nextdoor evolves, and, “The size of our footprint is growing larger and our organization is growing more complex,” he wrote. “The time is right to find the next CEO for Nextdoor.”

He will remain CEO as he helps lead the search for a replacement. After finding the right fit, he will stay on as the company’s board chairman, he added.

Some observers believe that Nextdoor has the potential to grow into a real estate marketing heavyweight. The privacy scandals that have plagued Facebook — the results of which just helped wipe $100 billion off its market value in one day — may offer a window of opportunity for Nextdoor to gain more traction.

Email Teke Wiggin.