CouchSurfing raises $15m to strengthen community

CouchSurfing raises $15m to strengthen community

Social travel network CouchSurfing has closed $15 million in funding from new lead investor General Catalyst Partners, to help expand product management and engineering teams for faster innovation across its mobile and online platforms.

CouchSurfing, which enables people from around the globe to discover each other online, has raised a total of $22.6 million in funds over the past year.

In this time, nearly 5 million users have shared more than 10 million face-to-face experiences.

“Today, we’re honoured to welcome new investors who share our belief that people are at the core of authentic and fulfilling travel,” said CEO Tony Espinoza.

“This new funding will enable us to improve the ways in which we serve and strengthen our incredible, diverse community.”

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More than 40,000 interest groups host activities on CouchSurfing, including language exchanges, bicycle tours, museum visits and volunteer opportunities.

“The internet and social media have led to monumental changes in the travel sector—which today constitutes a third of all global e-commerce activity,” said Jonathan Teo, Managing Director at General Catalyst Partners and the newest addition to CouchSurfing’s Board of Directors.

“It’s clear that the path to success for companies in the sector is to make users a strategic focus and use data to better understand and serve them. We believe the CouchSurfing team has the winning formula, and our firm is eager to support their innovation and growth.”

CouchSurfing joins some of the most innovative travel, collaborative consumption and consumer internet companies in the portfolios of its new investors, including Airbnb, Getaround, ITA, Kayak, Room 77, Sabre, TaskRabbit, Tumblr and Uber.

Over the coming months, the company will continue to hire top-tier engineers and product managers and finalise new iOS, Android and website features, set to begin rolling out later this year. 

These include a completely new code base for the site, which will increase speed and reliability, provide a more intuitive browsing experience and deliver more customized and optimized search results.