The investors at First Round Capital must be ready for a vacation, because they just led a $1.2 million seed round for CasaHop, a home-swapping network owned by a team of former Huffington Post executives.
Similar to Airbnb, CasaHop gives the owners of fabulous homes in cities all over the world a chance trade places with other adventurous travelers. The owners sign up through Facebook so they can find people with mutual connections and similar interests.
For now, the service is free. The listings include a fair number of beautiful houses and apartments all over the world, which are laid out on the page like Pinterest pins and filled with owner-supplied factoids on what’s nearby. Most of the homes are in non-touristy areas of larger cities, but even the ones that aren’t are either in business destinations or local getaways. To get more detailed information, like an address, there’s a contact form to reach the owners directly.
With the additional funding, the company will add new features to help travelers connect with other site members, according to TechCrunch. Unlike Airbnb, CasaHop is about trading homes rather than just renting them out like hotel rooms, so the challenge is in finding people who are on the same schedule and who are willing to make the switch. (Although this worked out pretty well for Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz in The Holiday.)
In addition to First Round Capital, other participants in the funding round included Lerer Ventures, Betaworks, Andre Balazs, Bob Pittman, David Tisch, Nicholas Negroponte, Dave Morgan, and Jonah Goodhart.
The venture is the product of Soho Tech Labs, a startup incubator founded by Huffington Post alumni Jonah Peretti, Ken Lerer, Paul Berry, and Eric Hippeau; and backed by Lerer Ventures.