Meet Casey Fenton and Join his Unexpected Journey
Success Story

Journey from a Couch to Couchsurfing App

Journey from a Couch to Couchsurfing App

Journey from a Couch to Couchsurfing App

What started as a small request to crash on someone’s couch in Iceland is now a B-Corporation with a membership of 11 million users across 240 countries. Fomenting affordable travel and facilitating cultural exchange, Couchsurfing offers a platform that reinvents the realm of travel. Though the app and the company are immensely popular amongst backpackers, little do people know the story of its origin. An analysis of the company’s journey also is an insight of great relevance in terms of its inspiration and strategy adopted by the dynamic company.

The mystery behind the inspiration

The genesis of Couchsurfing lies in the vision of a young man aspiring to integrate travel and radical sharing of cultures and experiences. After a few adventures, it was in the year of 1999, the 25-year-old Casey Fenton found a cheap flight to Iceland. Since he did not have a place to stay, the young programmer hacked into University of Iceland’s database and sent over 1500 emails, requesting a place to sleep.To his utmost surprise, he received almost 100 lodging offers in Reykjavik ready to show him around. The weekend spent with the locals left Fenton in awe of the power of cultural exchange and upon his arrival to Boston, the seed of couchsurfing was sown.

The struggles with the success

The team was formed with Fenton’s close friend Leonardo Silveira and former colleagues Daniel Hoffer and Sebastian LeTuan, together they launched the website on June 12th, 2004.The day is also celebrated as “International Couchsurfing Day”. The early years of the company were marked with several key challenges in its development processes including software bugs and common website crashes due to unmanageable traffic. The peak of the struggle arrived when all of the company’s database was lost and Casey Fenton had to resort to web calling for assistance. In denial to its 501 (c) (3) application for a Non-Profit domain, the company had to update its entrepreneurial status in 2011 from a nonprofit to a B-Corporation( a for-profit company).

Resulting to which, the company could no longer accept donations and accept its revenue missions. The key challenge that came with this was to generate revenue. The issue was tackled with a well-researched analysis and was settled with a round amount of $7.6 million from Benchmark Capital and Omidyar Network. Various funding sources including General Catalyst Partners and Menlo Ventures in addition to the former funding agencies resulted into a fund of $22.6 million.

Overview

Currently, the main revenue source of the company is its verification system that caters to several safety measures to enhance user experience. The company’s model in close sync with its policies, reminding its users of the needed safety measures and encourages them to update their feedback consistently for better execution. An ambitious venture like Couchsurfing continuously needs ardent efforts in terms of smooth execution and naturally has been in constant turmoil eternally with mismanagement and externally with controversies. However, the company’s vision and its refusal to monetize the venture is an agent of change that holds great potential.

Meenal <span> Creative Lead </span>
Written By
Meenal Creative Lead

She is a writer and content marketer at MobileAppDaily. She can mold the most annoying app into a gleaming stone. Her knack around the mobile apps is merely splendid. Her experience in the tech industry has assisted her in churning out the best and more importantly, unbiased mobile app reviews.

Success Story

Superhuman Learning Skills With Memerise App

4 min read  

In the spring of 2005 at the auditorium of Con Edison building, near Union Square in Manhattan, Joshua Foer met a man who changed him from a journalist to US Memory Champion in one single year. The man was no other than Memrise’s co-founder, Grandmaster of Memory Ed Cooke who now with the rest

Success Story

Roadmap to Willowtree’s Success in App Development Industry

4 mins read  

Over the decade, WillowTree has gone from developing apps for car parking to being the chief app development company for Regal Cinemas, the largest movie theater chain in the U.S. What started as a three-member company, now has over 300 full-time team members developing award-winning apps like the N

Success Story

What it Took for mSpy App to Become a Must-Have Safety Tool

4 mins read  

At a time when technology has encircled us, keeping a track of personal life and professional life seems challenging, but to strike the right balance between the two, we have a remarkable app named mSpy app, which gives the user better control over multiple devices.mSpy is among the best parental

Success Story

A Story That Transpired From Cloud Platform

4 min read  

Nowadays, earning a name in this cut-throat competition is way too grueling. But, people who aspire high are never short of ideas, and that ultimately turns them into an idol for many budding talents. Same goes for Mark Petrie and Bob Lawson. Both of them are tech gentlemen, who kick-started their j