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CS raises an additional $15 million
Posted August 22nd, 2012 - 3:20 pm from Paris, France
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Posted August 22nd, 2012 - 3:46 pm from Paris, France
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Posted August 22nd, 2012 - 4:00 pm from Berlin, Germany
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Posted August 22nd, 2012 - 4:31 pm by from London, England (Permalink)
"“At its core, CouchSurfing isn’t about couches,” Espinoza told me. “It’s about people connecting with other people in the places that they travel to and live.”"


Oh well, twas nice while it lasted.

Posted August 22nd, 2012 - 5:02 pm from Berlin, Germany
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Posted August 22nd, 2012 - 5:21 pm by from Paris, France (Permalink)
http://www.couchsurfing.org/people/jonteo/

Posted August 22nd, 2012 - 6:15 pm from Saint-Brieuc, France
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Posted August 22nd, 2012 - 6:51 pm from Amsterdam, Netherlands
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Posted August 24th, 2012 - 4:30 pm from Paris, France
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Posted August 24th, 2012 - 7:57 pm by from Vienna, Austria (Permalink)
From that wired article:

"...says Teo:“Our investment is for the company to play around with different ideas to make money.”"

sounds more like someone who by accident fell into the moneypot and now doesn't really know what to do.
That makes me slightly optimistic - sluggish and without clue like most CSers.


"CouchSurfing member Gabriel Stempinski...After posting a video to his profile, he met a lady couch surfer whose been sharing his couch as his fiancee ever since."

My 2nd optimistic point: with CS keeping this seedy image they can throw all the money they want on it, it will vanish uneffectively and CS will never be taken serious in the business world.

Posted August 24th, 2012 - 9:06 pm from Berlin, Germany
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Posted August 24th, 2012 - 10:24 pm by from Paris, France (Permalink)
Interesting times, and rude awakenings for a lot of people ahead. At CouchSurfing and over at Hostility Club where they have a partnership with Airbnb already.

You'd think that people with such track records would be more professional, but then you read eSpin-oza's "interview" and wonder: Just what have they been doing the past year and with the $7.6+ million?

"Beginning this fall, we’re really going to be strengthening the tools
that are available on the website. Making them more reliable, making
them easier to use. By having this new platform [Ed. note: the new code
base that the engineering team is building]
we will finally be able to operate in a way that’s not based on
building features, but actually a process of iterating on our service,
responding to things that aren’t working the way we hoped and constantly
improving things. So instead of working in a vacuum, for the first time
we’ll really be able to build something dynamically with the community,
and respond, and be involved so that things continually get better."


Did it take that long to start working because that's how long it took to get rid of Fenton and Hoffer?

Posted August 25th, 2012 - 7:10 am by from Vienna, Austria (Permalink)
"Just what have they been doing the past year and with the $7.6+ million ?"

Exactly, if they were not able to create a decent or just stable(!) website with 7.6 Mio$ why should they be capable of doing so with 15 more millions ?


From that interview:
"Tony: I think that we probably will end up launching something within the next year, whatever it is. "

probably, whatever... sounds like a great plan that should leave no doubts about the strategic skills of our management. A small scale caricature of what happens at facebook nowadays.
... Pickwick, for now I do worry less than 1 year ago and until I am proven otherwise I believe more in the de-constructive and muddling magic of CS :)

Posted August 25th, 2012 - 7:25 am by from Vienna, Austria (Permalink)
...why should they be capable of doing so with 15 more millions ?
let alone creating a cash-cow, I forgot to add.

Posted August 25th, 2012 - 8:23 am from Berlin, Germany
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Posted August 25th, 2012 - 9:59 am by from London, England (Permalink)
Very interesting. But to what extent does an acquisition of CS fit into AirBnB-s business model? Air BnB have probably already attracted the CSers open to their way of doing things / at this point, how likely is it that most of the remainder of the community is going to want to start charging for their couch so that Air BnB can take a cut?
Of course, depending on how much the sale price is (could CS be undervalued this time???) it might be worth buying just to let it fail as you suggest, but then again they seem to be doing a good job of failing all by themselves.

Posted August 25th, 2012 - 10:12 am by from Dijon, France (Permalink)
It is not an unusual business practice to buy a potential competitor or competing technology just to shut it down. Allowing a competitor to flourish can be bad for the bottom line.

One web site can also be conceived as a feeder site for another.

Posted August 25th, 2012 - 10:16 am by from Dijon, France (Permalink)
And some markets are dominated by "different" brands all owned by a single company.

Posted August 25th, 2012 - 12:01 pm from Berlin, Germany
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Posted August 25th, 2012 - 2:51 pm from Philadelphia, United States
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Posted August 25th, 2012 - 3:35 pm by from Rome, Italy (Permalink)
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Posted August 25th, 2012 - 3:57 pm by from Paris, France (Permalink)
Anyone with a smartphone can already receive email notifications in real time anywhere, just as you can set up your email client to fetch new messages every so many seconds on any home PC or Mac. So leaving out this feature from the current stupid apps was just another stupid move by the Completely Stupid.

Posted August 27th, 2012 - 11:12 pm from London, England
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Posted August 29th, 2012 - 2:29 am from Philadelphia, United States
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Posted August 29th, 2012 - 4:23 am from Managua, Nicaragua
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Posted August 29th, 2012 - 8:07 am by from Paris, France (Permalink)
I guess the couches make sense for a company named CouchSurfing International, it's the swings that are ridiculous.



I wanted to post a link to the video on the blog on posterous, but that former way "to learn all the news about CouchSurfing" is now password protected abd the direct links return ab error message... But Youtube is your friend:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YTtXE232Mz8#t=18s

Posted August 25th, 2012 - 10:20 am by from Paris, France (Permalink)
Also noteworthy in this context is that Tripping.com, which started out as a clone of CS founded by CouchSurfers in California, has already opted for the combination of free couches (homestay) and rented accomodation (home rentals) on the same website. They may well have shown the way.

It's going to interesting to see what happens to the partnership between our friend Veit of Hostility Club and Airbnb now that Airbnb and CS are brother and sister.

Posted September 6th, 2012 - 5:56 pm from Berlin, Germany
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Posted August 25th, 2012 - 11:08 am from Berlin, Germany
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Posted August 25th, 2012 - 11:21 am by from Paris, France (Permalink)
If the CS assets were worth $637.800 a year ago, with all the additional bugs and worse usability today it should be worth less than that.

A mobile app rated 3.3 on a scale from 1 to 5 stars with one third of users giving 1 or 2 stars also looks more like a liability than an asset.

On the other hand having gotten Fenton out of the operational business must be worth a fortune.

Posted August 22nd, 2012 - 5:16 pm by from Paris, France (Permalink)
http://www.couchsurfing.org/news/cs-organization/couchsurfing-raises-15-million-to-improve-our-website-and-mobile-apps

CouchSurfing raises $15 million to improve our website and mobile apps!
Aug 22, 2012 by CouchSurfing Team - 12 Comments
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.

Jonathan Teo of General Catalyst Partners



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.

Posted August 22nd, 2012 - 5:27 pm by from Paris, France (Permalink)
"The new money, however, may raise more questions from die-hard fans
worrying about the startup becoming more corporate. With $22.6 million
under its belt, it’s a far cry from the plucky communal startup that was
founded in 2004 and survived on donations and code contributions from
users. Now, it has 30 employees, and it’s churning out improved products
including the recent addition of new mobile applications."


http://gigaom.com/2012/08/22/couchsurfing-raises-15m-to-build-a-human-travel-network/

Posted August 22nd, 2012 - 5:35 pm by from London, England (Permalink)
Jonathan Teo is from the benchmark stable, according to his profile on the CS-Team section.

Also, funny observation: despite being a CS member since 2009, 7 of his 9 references (including his first CS guests) date from the last couple of months.


Surely someone can't have needed to make his profile appear more active in a hurry????

Posted August 22nd, 2012 - 6:56 pm by from Dijon, France (Permalink)
The article is likely based on a CS press release.

https://www.google.fr/search?q=%22This%20is%20CouchSurfing%E2%80%99s%20second%20major%20funding%20round%20since%20converting%20from%20a%20nonprofit%20to%20%22&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&source=hp&channel=np#q=%22This+is+CouchSurfing+second+major+funding+round+since+converting+from+a+nonprofit+to+%22&hl=fr&safe=off&client=firefox-a&hs=J0b&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=np&prmd=imvns&filter=0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.&fp=e1e2b3f276b03c4c&biw=840&bih=411

Posted August 22nd, 2012 - 7:12 pm from Berlin, Germany
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Posted August 22nd, 2012 - 9:30 pm from Lichfield, England
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Posted August 22nd, 2012 - 9:43 pm by from Paris, France (Permalink)
Yet another ad:



Raise a new round? What kind of English is that anyway?

That ought to be one awesome website at $ 22+ million!

Posted August 23rd, 2012 - 6:17 am by from Paris, France (Permalink)
"Hope you're having a nice day! It's certainly been celebratory in the office!"

Champaign anyone?

In the future, please be more careful!

Posted August 23rd, 2012 - 7:22 am from Berlin, Germany
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Posted August 23rd, 2012 - 7:06 pm by from London, England (Permalink)
What kind of English is 'champaign', Uli??? *)

I'm interested in Jon Teo-s comments on the blog post, particularly
*With this investment, we will now have the resources to do that, and to do it in a way that will never compromise the trust of the community, never allow anyone to compel us to hold our user data hostage, and continue to enhance and bring the CS ethos to a wider audience.*

holding data hostage is an interesting choice of words, no?

They seem to be making a lot of Teo-s CS recently acquired CS experience, perhaps having been stung by the criticism of Yogi Bill's appointment and aware that with the overdue defenestration of Fenton and Hoffer now no real organic link remains between the management team and the community, such as it is. What with Bill's webcast we appear to be once more in an 'outreach' phase, following another round of investment and I expect doomed to the same result as the last outreach/ Global Casey tour.

Posted August 24th, 2012 - 9:11 am by from Paris, France (Permalink)
Champaign

Teo-s? ;-)

I am really stunned by the cost of designing and running a website such as CouchSurfing.com, according to CouchSurfing. $23 million dollars, wow! I wonder how everyone else does it without the deep pockets of Benchmark & Co... And investors who contributed less than a couple of million dollars aren't even worth mentioning, 'cause that's just small change. Wonder if Point Nine Capital has been able to contribute any European perspective. Such as what times of the day are appropriate for a webcast...

Posted August 24th, 2012 - 10:38 am by from London, England (Permalink)
*Teo-s? ;-)*


Bosnian Serb Keyboard.


Contrary to previous suppositions, which were that the first investors would sell on totally during the second round, Teo appears to have benchmark connections, so seems like they want to remain in control.

Posted August 24th, 2012 - 11:20 am from Berlin, Germany
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Posted September 2nd, 2012 - 4:21 pm by from Paris, France (Permalink)
"Wonder if Point Nine Capital has been able to contribute any European perspective."

This also concerns the new Terms of Use which are inapplicable in the European Union.

"European perspective

Daniel Hoffer, co-founder and CEO of CouchSurfing added: “The CouchSurfing community is made up of members from more than 81,000 cities, with Berlin ranking as the number four city worldwide. Although we had not initially planned on extending the round, we were excited to discover a strong connection and mutual passion among the investors at Point Nine Capital for CouchSurfing’s social mission and future.

We are pleased to enhance our international perspective by partnering with such a capable team in one of the most active European cities in our community, and are looking forward to working closely with them to better serve our members in Europe and beyond.”

Posted August 23rd, 2012 - 10:00 pm by from Vienna, Austria (Permalink)
Champaign ?
New campaign ? Champs pain.
*hic*


maybe I am drunk but one promise of Fenton is holding up sofar: no ads on CS.
Am I wrong ?

And what happened to Fenton really ? expropriated ?

Posted August 24th, 2012 - 5:44 am by from Chicago, United States (Permalink)
Ding!! A "new round" of investment, funding, merry money making! As if this were a bloddy boxing match, ha ha.

I had long predicted these "place pages" as a vehicle for advertisments. Not only would city groups (e.g. CS Paris, Berlin, etc.) be advertising local "preferred" businesses that would eventually be interested or would be asked to pay for "highlighted" or more prominent positions, visibility, frequency of appearance, etc., even individual member pages would have this "my favorite pizza place" and "my local bookstore" etc. It's only a matter of time.

Posted August 24th, 2012 - 7:58 pm by from Vienna, Austria (Permalink)
"I had long predicted these "place pages" as a vehicle for advertisments."

You may have predicted but sofar it did not come true.

Post removed.
Posted August 24th, 2012 - 5:54 am by from Paris, France (Permalink)
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