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How to Lose Funds and Infuriate Users: Couchsurfing, a Cautionary Tale From the "Sharing Economy"

BY Sam Roudman | Thursday, November 7 2013

Embroidered Couchsurfing SpongeBob, by Courtney Leigh, 2010 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/courtney-leigh/5136501557/)

Couchsurfing is a global travel network founded in 2004. It claims six million adventurous travelers and hospitable hosts, together envisioning “a world made better by travel and travel made richer by connection.” But on October 10, the company cut that connection with 40 percent of its staff, and its CEO Tony Espinoza, who just took over the company 18 months ago, announced he was stepping down. Adding to its trouble, according to TechCrunch, is the fact that the company, which has raised over $22 million since becoming a for-profit more than two years ago, is burning through $800,000 a month. How did the once-successful community platform go south? Read More

Mike Honda Locks Up Establishment Support, But Challenger Has Ear of the Silicon Valley Elite

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, May 14 2013

Some of Silicon Valley's most influential business people will hold a fundraiser in San Francisco this Thursday for Ro Khanna, the 36-year-old lawyer who's challenging 71-year-old California Democrat Mike Honda for his 17th Congressional District seat. The names at the top of the invite: Ron Conway and Sean Parker. They're apparently forming a committee to help Khanna build his campaign. The other bold-face names who are listed as part of the 'committee in formation' include Salesforce.com's Founder and CEO Marc Benioff, Benchmark Capital General Partners' Matt Cohler and Peter Fenton, tech entrepreneur Shawn Fanning, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, her big data venture investor husband Zach Bogue, and Conway's SV Angel colleague, Founder and Managing Partner David Lee. Read More