Couchers, Inc. Announces new Board members

The project is developed and operated by Couchers, Inc., a US-based 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization. The non-profit fulfills many important functions for the project: it maintains bank accounts, owns the intellectual property of the project (such as the brand and designs), and owns and operates the database. Additionally, it oversees the volunteering for the project, and helps set long-term goals such as the mission and vision of the organization.

The outgoing Board had our Annual Genral Meeting on the 24th of April. This blog post outlines the changes in the Board of Directors as well as some other governance changes.

New Directors


A photo of Emily Profile: @emily

Emily has been a couch surfer since 2008. She believes couch surfing is all about immediately having a sense of belonging wherever you go, as well as being inspired to travel to unusual and unexpected places based solely on people you meet — and no one should ever profit financially from that. She works as a video game writer and joined in 2020, shortly after its initial conception. Now she's focused on creating sustainable and healthy communities.


A photo of Yannic Profile: @spreeni

Yannic was introduced to the idea of couch surfing in 2011 while backpacking through New Zealand. He fell in love with the idea of sharing experiences with friendly strangers through surfing, hosting, and organizing events across different countries. Having observed Couchsurfing™'s concerning shift towards a profit-oriented organization over the years, Yannic believes a fitting platform should be run by the community and not for profit. By day, he works as a data scientist, and initially started out as a backend volunteer at Couchers. Whenever he can, Yannic indulges his passion for mountains and the outdoors.


A photo of Natalia Profile: @natalia

Natalia has been a couch surfer since ca. 2015 and was a volunteer at the earlier stages of Couchers, assisting in the logo design and forum moderation. She enjoys attending local couch surfing events, dabbles in website development for various purposes, and her favorite hobbies are karate and various musical instruments.


Paul serves as the Treasurer of Couchers, Inc.

A photo of Paul Profile: @paul

Paul has been a couch surfer since 2005. He works as an information system and business consultant and joined in 2020, shortly after its initial conception. He is an activist for Sicilian Language rights at Cademia Siciliana and is currently serving as Treasurer for Couchers, Inc.

Continuing Directors


Aapeli serves as the President of Couchers, Inc., as well as the Chairman of the Board of Directors.

A photo of Aapeli Profile: @aapeli

Aapeli founded the project with Itsi in early 2020, and has lead the project from its inception; focusing on the technical and engineering aspects. Outside of Couchers, he is completing a PhD at Columbia University in the field of Operations Research, working on improving the mathematics of assigning students to schools in New York City -- the largest public school district in the United States. He is of course an avid traveller and loves to meet new people and learn about different perspectives.


A photo of Itsi Profile: @itsi

Itsi started couch surfing in 2017 while backpacking around Mexico. He loves the experiences and values that it gives people, and wants it to be spread further to more people through a strong and safe community. Itsi co-founded in 2020 after Couchsurfing™ put up their paywall. He insistantly believes in non-profit governance as the only way to create a couch surfing platform that can be a central piece of infrastructure that all people can use. By day Itsi is a data scientist focusing on vegan cheese research.


Jesse serves as the Secretary of Couchers, Inc.

A photo of Jesse Profile: @jesse

Jesse has been a couch surfer since 2007 and started volunteering for in 2020 in the areas of UI/UX design, support, and community building. He especially enjoys hosting couch surfers and organizing events where couch surfers can meet up, make new friends, and explore the city together. When he isn't hosting or couch surfing, Jesse likes to spend time gardening, biking, and playing instruments.

Resigning Directors


A photo of Dea Profile: @sunshine

The Board accepted Dea's resignation, completing her two year tenure as a Director.

On behalf of the Board and the whole project, we would like to thank Dea for her hard work in serving on the Board for such a long time and through some difficult circumstances.

The purpose of the Board of Directors

The role of Board of Directors of the non-profit is to supervise and guide the rest of the organization and project to sustainably meet its mission while working in line with its values. As the ultimate authority over the affairs of the non-profit, the Board is also responsible for setting our mission and values, and even changing our governance structure if needed. It is therefore paramount that the right people are on the Board so that the organization is steered in the right direction. The Board is removed from the day-to-day operational and executive decisions of the organization, and instead acts to provide stability and longevity to the organization.

Other governance changes

The outgoing Board voted to accept new bylaws. The new bylaws ratify a decision of the Board from April 2022 that allows the founders of the project (Aapeli and Itsi) to remain on the Board until they choose to resign. This allows the founders to protect the original ideas and maintain the long-term vision laid out by them. The new bylaws also include a proviso that if the Board has five or fewer members, or if quorum is established with five or fewer members, Itsi yields his vote to Aapeli.

The full bylaws are available here, and you can find more information about Couchers, Inc. here.

Written by Aapeli. Published on 2024/04/30

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