Today global hospitality community CouchSurfing announced that it has raised $15 million to improve both its website and mobile app. The recent round of funding was led by General Catalyst Partners and Menlo Ventures, and marks its first investment since the company’s venture round of $7.6 million a year ago.
CouchSurfing was founded in 2004 by Daniel Hoffer, Casey Fenton, Sebastien Le Tuan, and Leonardo Bassani da Silveira. Since its launch the startup has grown into a community of more than 3.6 million users in 207 countries across the globe.
The company was the first to point out that its success over the past eight years has largely been due to its active and open community. Planned improvements to the CouchSurfing experience will address complexity and stability issues on both web and mobile platforms, without changing any of what makes the community so passionate about travel and social hospitality.
“Our priority is to make sure that we’re serving the community as best we can,” the company said. “We now have enough money in the bank that we can give that our full attention.”
Jonathan Teo of General Catalyst Partners will join the CouchSurfing board of directors following the recent investment, whose members include CEO Tony Espinoza, Benchmark Capital partner Matt Cohler, and Todor Tashev of Omidyar Network. As original investors, both Benchmark and Omidyar additionally contributed to CouchSurfing’s recent round of fundraising.
The company unveiled one of its big upcoming features in today’s announcement blog post: “place pages” for specific communities. The team is hoping that these pages will become a specialized forum to bring local users together, sharing pictures, tips, and experiences they’ve had in a specific city. For now eager couch surfers will have to wait and see what other new features the hospitality service has planned for release over the next several months.
“We’re focusing our energy on making a website that’s a more sustainable home for our community: one that works reliably, and easily,” the team wrote. “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.”