Casey Fenton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Casey Fenton
Casey Fenton.png
Born (1978-03-01) March 1, 1978 (age 40)
New Hampshire
ResidenceSan Francisco, California, United States
CitizenshipUnited States
  • Entrepreneur
  • Public Speaker
  • Founder, CEO, Upstock
  • Founder, CEO, Wonder App
  • Founder, Couchsurfing

Casey Fenton (born 1978) is an American internet entrepreneur and founder of CouchSurfing.

Work in Alaska politics[edit]

Fenton's career in politics includes work as the director of Internet strategy for the governor of Alaska, Tony Knowles during his unsuccessful 2004 United States Senate bid,[1] and work as a legislative aide for the Alaska State House Minority Leader, 2002-2004.


Fenton created the online social hospitality network, the Couchsurfing Project which he began working on in 1999. The idea came after finding a flight from Boston to Iceland. He hacked into the University of Iceland's student directory,[2] then sent emails to 1,500 students[3] asking them if he can stay with them instead of sleeping in a youth hostel. Fenton got "about 50 to 100 responses".[4][5] among whom was a "socialite and a nationally known R. & B. star."[6] In the flight back to Boston, he began to build the CouchSurfing project. In early 2003, he launched the CouchSurfing site.[7]

In 2011, Casey Fenton became controversial when Couchsurfing became a commercial enterprise with B Corporation (certification). Some users of the community then blamed him for appropriating for personal enrichment purposes the assets of the organization (including the code of the site and its database) developed previously by a voluntary community.[8] Fenton and his Co-founder Daniel Hoffer had worked for over 5 years though with the IRS to gain full 501 c3 status but the IRS denied their efforts because they classified couchsurfing as nothing more than cheap travel.[9]

Couchsurfing currently has over 15 million members worldwide. Fenton served as executive director of Couchsurfing until 2012 and the founding chairman of the board.[10]

Since exiting his position as CEO of Couchsurfing, he has also been a part of multiple startups including Wonder App and Upstock.

Public Speaking[edit]

Fenton has spoken on the subject of trust at TEDxBologna,[11] and human ego.

Public Speaking Engagements[edit]

Event Location Year
Startup Grind APEC Melbourne, Australia 2018
Tech BBQ Copenhagen, Denmark 2018
In Code We Trust Chicago, IL 2018
FreedomxFest Barcelona, Spain 2018
Global Silkway Road Astana, Kazakhstan 2018
Startup Extreme Voss, Norway 2018
Startup Grind Oslo Oslo, Norway 2018
Katapult Future Fest Oslo, Norway 2018
Year of the X Munich, Germany 2018
Startup Tourism Iceland Reykjavik, Iceland 2018
Freedom Summit Virtual/Bali 2018
Slush Helsinki, Finland 2017
Startup Grind Barcelona, Spain 2017
TEDxBologna Bologna, Italy 2017
Startup Istanbul Istanbul, Turkey 2017
Heroes Maratea, Italy 2017
Connect Ukraine Kiev, Ukraine 2017
Katapult Future Fest Oslo, Norway 2017
Year of the X Munich, Germany 2017
Government of Chile Iquique, Chile 2017
World Technology Awards New York, NY 2014
DLD12 Munich, Germany 2012
Techonomy 11 Tuscon, AZ 2011


In 2010, Fenton was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship for contributing new ideas for improving human well-being.[12]


  1. ^ Green, Penelope (September 20, 2007). "Surfing the World Wide Couch". New York Times. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  2. ^ Ward, Terry (March 11, 2007). "Divan Intervention". Washington Post. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  3. ^ Yi, L.E.S (2016). "Asian's perspectives in motivation and hospitality". Asia-Pacific Journal of Innovation in Hospitality and Tourism. 5 (2): 219–225. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  4. ^ Siano, Joseph (September 12, 2004). "TRAVEL ADVISORY; Decorate a Couch With a Tourist". New York Times. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  5. ^ Tan, JE. (2010). "The Leap of Faith from Online to Offline: An Exploratory Study of". Trust and Trustworthy Computing. 6101 (Lecture Notes in Computer Science): 367–380. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  6. ^ Marx, Patricia (April 16, 2012). "You're Welcome". The New Yorker. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  7. ^ Molz, Jennie German (16 February 2012). "CouchSurfing and network hospitality: 'It's not just about the furniture'". Hospitality & Society. 1 (3): 215–225(11). Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  8. ^ Roudman, Sam. "How to Lose Funds and Infuriate Users: Couchsurfing, a Cautionary Tale From the "Sharing Economy"". Tech President. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  9. ^ Lapowski, Issie. "Couchsurfing Dilemma: Going for Profit". Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  10. ^ "Company overview of Couchsurfing Intl. Inc". Bloomberg. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  11. ^ Fenton, Casey. "How to Live 1000 Lives". TEDxBologna. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  12. ^ "This description of Casey Fenton's work was prepared when Casey Fenton was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2010". Ashoka. Retrieved 12 January 2019.

External links[edit]