CouchSurfing website attracts more funds

Investors have put more money into CouchSurfing, a website that claims to connect travellers with people overseas that are willing to share their home or facilities.

The company raised $15m recently, taking the amount of funds raised in the past year to $22.6m. The firm claims that it provides a website that helps to connect travellers with friendly foreigners who are ready to share their home or couch with a stranger, either for a fee or just to be of service.

Located in San Francisco, the firm calls itself a ‘social travel network’ connecting nearly five million members. The network works in more than 93,000 cities and is accessible on the web and through mobile apps. The firm makes money from its identity verification service.

When CouchSurfing was launched in 2004, it was providing information about places to stay for travellers who just wanted a place to spend the night. Now, the concept has been expanded to include ride-sharing services, such as GetAround and Relay Rides, and vacation rentals are also now a part of the business.

The Firm’s CEO, Tony Espinoza, talking to Venturebeat, said, ‘More than four years ago, I identified the sharing economy, or collaborative consumption, as a very exciting new area and made my first angel investment in the space. At its core, CouchSurfing isn’t about couches. It’s about people connecting with other people in the places that they travel to and live.’

This year the firm has expanded its services to include language exchanges, bicycle tours, museum visits and volunteering opportunities.