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Casahop shutting down as home exchange site fails to gain traction

Skift Take

Given the huge concerns inherent in home exchanges, CasaHop may have been doomed from the beginning.

— Dennis Schaal

The signs were all there for months, and now Soho Tech Labs, which launched home-exchange site CasaHop last year, confirms it is winding down the operation.

Co-founder Florent Peyre left the company in October, the CasaHop Twitter account hasn’t been updated since early October, and its email marketing ceased flowing in mid-September.

In June, CasaHop picked up $1.2 million in funding, with investors including Lerer Ventures’ Soho Tech Labs, Andre Balazs, First Round Capital, Betaworks, David Tisch, Bob Pittman, Jonah Goodhart, Dave Morgan and Nicholas Negroponte, but the social home-exchange site apparently never could get past the insecurities inherent in securing home exchanges through your social networks.

In a Betabeat story, Paul Berry, the CEO of Soho Tech Labs, seems to point to Airbnb as a leading cause of CasaHop’s demise.

“The timing was off,” Berry tells Betabeat. “Airbnb is really in a winner takes all situation in this area. I hope one day someone is going to break out and make this an enormous idea because I love home exchanges, but too few people feel comfortable with other people staying in their place while they’re away.”

But, CasaHop didn’t directly compete with Airbnb, and there is a whole wide world out there in apartment-sharing and home exchanges.

One player clearly won’t dominate the whole thing.

CasaHop’s problem was working in a relatively small market and the hurdles it faced in trying to overcome concerns about home exchanges.

It would have been very difficult to build a large business given those parameters.

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