By Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7
According to a posting on the CouchSurfing.org website two investors are getting involved and the organization will transition from a non-profit to a for-profit organization.
One of the investors is Pierre Omidyar, founder of Ebay, Honolulu Civil Beat and Omidyar Network which has funded a number of websites including Kiva.org, Seesmic, Digg, Linden Lab, Wikimedia and Creative Commons. Omidyar lives in Hawaii with his family according to his biography on Civil Beat.
The posting states CouchSurfing will continue to be free of charge for users. The website is planning to add optional features users can pay for.
CouchSurfing.org is a website where “Surfers” (travelers) can connect with hosts in over 230 countries and territories around the world. Not all connections lead to hosting as sometimes it is just so the ‘surfer’ can gain some local knowledge. The website boasts a membership of three million members and has a number of active hosts and ‘surfers’ in Hawaii.
CouchSurfing has removed the informational video which appeared on this page earlier.
The video release, which was public on the website and on Vimeo, stated that CouchSurfing.org has been trying for the last four years to become a 501(c)(3) corporation but found it very difficult to do so.
CouchSurfing will become a B Corporation. In the video one of CouchSurfing’s co-founders Dan Hoffer says, ‘That sort of structure enables us to achieve the idealistic integrity of a non-profit as well as the efficiency and flexibility of a more traditional company. If we do that, we can leverage the benefits of both and hire more people, improve the site, and deliver the features you’ve been asking for as well as the ones we’ve all been dreaming about.’
Co-Founder Casey Fenton said, ‘So, going forward, CouchSurfing will now be a socially responsible B Corp. It’s an important change. It may not be what any of us expected, it may even seem a little scary, but I believe that it is actually the best thing that could have happened.
As we move into this new structure, my top priority will continue to be how to make sure that this organization will always put its vision first. And what I like most about the B Corp model is that it ensures that our priorities will always be in line with our ideals.’
CouchSurfing re-posted the announcement at: www.couchsurfing.org/bcorp