Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing raises $15 million to improve our website and mobile apps!

Today, we announced that we have raised $15 million in funding. This is exciting news! It means that we can keep our energy where it belongs: on rebuilding the website and enhancing our mobile apps so that they better support our community. This financing gives us the time we need to approach that project carefully and strategically.

Of course you’ll want to know: Who’s funding us now? Are they trustworthy?

Yes; we’re happy to have found partners who are familiar with and supportive of our mission. Our lead investor and newest member of our Board of Directors, Jonathan Teo of General Catalyst Partners, has been a CouchSurfing member since 2009. “I’ve had a number of meaningful connections with people and places around the country and around the world thanks to CouchSurfing,” he says. “I know that the talents and resources of the General Catalyst team can help bring the same inspiring experiences to even more people.”

We’re also excited to receive backing from Shervin Pishevar of Menlo Ventures, who has participated in funding other sharing economy organizations, like TaskRabbit (which lets people hire strangers to complete small jobs for them) and Getaround (a peer-to-peer car sharing company). And our initial investors from last year, Matt Cohler at Benchmark Capital and Todor Tashev at Omidyar Network, are also continuing their support.

$15 million gives us enough money to maintain our current staff and add new employees without needing to worry about our finances. Which is great, because there are two things we know for sure right now:

1. The CouchSurfing website, as it currently exists, needs a lot of help. It’s unstable and not very easy to use.
2. CouchSurfing is amazing because it’s free and based on generosity.

This new round of funding gives us the opportunity to deal with the first reality without messing around with the second, and for that we are extremely pleased. Our priority is to make sure that we’re serving the community as best we can. And we now have enough money in the bank that we can give that our full attention.

We’re lucky to exist in a really creative, experimental environment here in California and we’ve found investors who believe in us and our ideas.

So we’re focusing all our energy on making a website that’s a more sustainable home for our community: one that works reliably, and easily. It’s going to be a big project, and one that will take us a lot of time, but we’re now in a position where we can take that time and do it right.

Within the next few months, you’ll start seeing changes on the website. We’ll be launching something new to CouchSurfing: place pages. Local communities will have one centralized place to share their photos, discussions, and things to do. It’s just the first step towards making it easier to do what you need to do on the website, so you can spend less time surfing the web and more time surfing couches.

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  • Larry

    What is this couch surfing thing about and how can I get in on it. It sounds interesting but I would like to know a little more about it. It would be nice to hear from you and explanation of this couch surfing thing. Be glad to hear from you. Larry

  • Mihel Alda

    I had a great time on CS since one year, it was really nice, and I could not see my life without hosting and surfing now, so I am greatful to CS for this. BUT.
    For example when I was in Dubai, the sharia law jailed the women being raped.
    Every time nicely I advised a woman surfing to choose carefully her host on the wall, a gang of guys, would flag my posts and delete them, and only one CS male embassadors on one year advise onthe wall. The others, all men, don’t want women to be advised and NEVER DO.
    So the problem in Dubai it is a majority of men, locals, hosting Western young women, not knowing anything about the law because the Embassies don’t inform all over the world.
    The last comments I received from the safety team made me think that it was an Indian man talking to me, I don’t know why but for me it was obvious. So I searched and found that in fact the support team had been given to Concentrix based in Belfast but as well in India.
    Now CS starts to be interesting for a lawyer because a collective case from women could bring them money, and in United States the lawyer can be paid on the percent they make.
    Plus would it be legal that the women being raped, think they talk with an American woman when in fact it is an Indian man? Should the support team being transparent?
    So I searched again, and saw that the collective case was nearly there, that a petition at the White house was nearly there, that everything is nearly there, ready.
    And it is sad, I really enjoyed CS, but the way the safety team treated me, and treats women, is so rude, that if a colllective case is organized and CS will have 20 millions to pay so I will not cry but I will search for another website.
    For me the inverstors have lost their money already. It will be worse than Myspace and Warren Buffet, worse than ASW now. It will crash and not only for economical reasons but for legal reasons.
    And for stupid reasons. The women should be respected more, they take risks and the site owes them its fortune, without women the site is dead.
    But right now, more and more prostitutes, more and more mafias, more and more single men searching for sex, and no more for hosting. The women more and more difficult to find, stepping back, and in the country like the Middle Est the young local men in control, and just wanting to date young Western girls, it is find, but how far are they ready to go? Maybe quite far.
    So CS will crash and the investors will loose all their money. Maybe more than Buffet because Buffet did not have a lawyer attacking him with hundred of women being harrassed and raped.
    Like in a Fellini movie, The city of women. Hundred of women chasing them and asking for financial reparations for their psychological damages being on the site.
    I was really enthusiastic about CS but the safety team really showed me that you cannot invest in CS, it will crash for safety reasons and legal reasons.
    I take time to wrirte on this wall, because I like CS, so we will contact the investors to warn them and to tell them what to do to avoid the bankrupcy.

    • Couchsurfing_HQ

      Dear Mihel,
      We absolutely agree that member safety is a top priority.

      While we cannot change national laws across the globe, we do strongly advise
      members to be careful and make informed decisions. Please find more information in our Safety Center: http://www.couchsurfing.com/n/safety.
      It includes a special section with tips for women travelers. Feel free to share
      this Center with fellow Couchsurfers!

      I am very sorry to hear you seem to have had a disappointing support experience. We have extremely high Safety standards and after a short
      trial period with Concentrix, all Safety tickets are being handled inhouse
      again by a team of dedicated Couchsurfers. We try our best to help our members with any Safety related questions and issues they may have. Please feel free to contact our Trust and Safety Team here any time: http://bit.ly/1fztHQP.

      Couchsurfing would never intentionally compromise its member’s safety. Never.

      We are aware that there was a strong gender imbalance amongst our Couchsurfing Ambassadors. We decided to change that and we are
      currently appointing additional women to become Ambassadors. Our focus particularly in countries with cultures where gender differences are very apparent. Please find more information in the Ambassador group: http://bit.ly/MWdmLE.

      If you have more questions, I kindly ask you to contact our Support Team here: http://bit.ly/1c35fmt

  • Mihel Alda

    Thank you for your very polite answer. On the Dubai wall if you look at the safety advices today, a woman asks if she can go to the police in case there is a problem with her host, nobody answered her when it is an Embassador who wrote the thread. The organizer don’t answer her, it is always like this. I answered her nicely and as usual my comment is or flagged, or suspended. I am a social worker registered in UK, and a film producer, hire me as an Embassador, and I will take care seriously of the women safety but now it is a joke, and some women wil make a collective case, and it will be the end of CS it is sad as I love CS. But it is not possibe this way. Contact me privately on my mail, I will show you something.

  • Mihel Alda

    You were honest enough to tell me that Concentrix for the safety team was just a trial period. I contacted again the safety team today to inform them that as I was still suspended so a press article about my suspension will be released on Mediapart in France and that the Dubai site might shut down, because if a woman cannot inform that in case of rape you are jailed if you report, I was informing nicely, and got flagged and suspended for feminism activism (I got the messages from Caytee), so a women’s group will ask the Royals to suspend the site as it becomes too dangerous for women. But I can see that on my mails I received two different answers, one is yours and one from Mario, lying to me. At least you are honest.

    Copy of the press article will be sent by recommandé to your investors.

    The press article will not be released if I am not suspended anymore.

    And the suspension of the Dubai site will not be asked if a banner informing women is put on the site.

    Reason why I contacted the safety team.

    Now from now on, without a solution to be found, I will inform and contact directly yout investors because it is them who will loose money and put their name and reputation in trouble.

    At least for once it is not Caytee pretending to be a woman. Now we have an enquiry to make to understand when the safety team trial period at Concentrix ended and if it is true that it ended. Our concern is that Concentrix gave the contract in India without informing you. So how many women were treated by Concentrix India? Was in men or women answering them? Was it Pakistanese engineers? With all the respect for Pakistanese women, the women’s rights in their countries is not really perfect, if the safety team had been run by Concentrix India and by men, maybe some women like me, suffered from some moral damages. I suffer from a moral damage already. I had to go to the doctor, for example. The attitude of the safety team suspending me for no reason, was already for me, on my health a moral damage. The letters I received from the safety team were a moral damage. So how many women in my case? Being suspended for no reason, because nicely informing women. And how many, were not listen enough when reporting harrassment, etc. I trusted Caytee when a man masturbating in front of me, was reported by myself. But to have this Caytee accusing me of feminist activism, in Dubai an international town where women raped are jailed, where no banner is not the site, when for the first time last week, an Embassador Dubai from India, informed properly about women’s rights in Dubai.. All this is a very heavy moral damage, and my doctor could attest it.

    01 mars 19:00

    Hello Alda,

    Concentrix has never been in charge of our Safety Team. As mentioned previously, it is our policy to end correspondence with any member who notifies Couchsurfing of their intent to pursue legal action.

    Therefore, our previous communication was the last one.

    Kind regards,

    Mario
    Trust and Safety Team
    Couchsurfing