Last October, I took on the role of Interim CEO during a time of extraordinary change at Couchsurfing. Since then I’ve been working with our team to address longstanding technical challenges. Our goal: to make the site easier to use and more helpful for members as they travel and connect.
Today I’m delighted to accept the Couchsurfing Board of Directors’ offer to remain the company’s CEO in the long term, and to welcome two extraordinary new members to the company’s board – experienced leaders who bring tremendous perspective and wisdom to our extended team.
The team at Couchsurfing HQ
Transitioning Couchsurfing from a community-organized global movement to a mission-driven technology company has been a challenging road, but the Couchsurfing community continues to thrive despite those challenges. Since October we’ve radically increased the stability of the website, built and shipped the first mobile updates in over two years (tripling the service’s daily mobile activity in just under two months), and begun the necessary process of (finally) rebuilding the service’s technologies from the ground up. The community is now 9 million strong.
In many ways, our work is just beginning. Delivering the world class service that the community deserves and building a sustainable business model that is in line with Couchsurfing’s core values will take time, dedication, focus, and a good amount of experimentation and learning.
Couchsurfing continues to benefit from the strong backing of top investors. Joel Cutler recently joined our Board of Directors, and today we’re delighted to welcome Erik Blachford, who will be joining Couchsurfing’s board as Executive Chairman.
Both Erik and Joel have extensive experience in and passion for the travel industry. They also bring a native understanding of how technology can be used to make travel experiences more personal and responsive. Joel sits on the boards of many consumer Internet companies, co-founded National Leisure Group (one of the largest travel technology and distribution companies in the U.S.) and served on the board at KAYAK. Erik – a former CEO at Expedia – advises numerous travel-related startups and sits on the boards of Zillow, Glassdoor and Choose Energy, among others. He has also served as president and CEO of Terrapass, IAC Travel and Butterfield & Robinson.
I couldn’t ask for better additions to our Board and look forward to continued success together. I’m thrilled to continue in this position and humbled by the acts of kindness that Couchsurfers around the world show each day.
*Couchsurfing’s current Board of Directors includes: Couchsurfing founders Casey Fenton and Daniel Hoffer, Benchmark General Partner Matt Cohler, Managing Partner at General Catalyst Joel Cutler, travel industry veteran Erik Blachford and Couchsurfing CEO, Jennifer Billock.