Shortly after assuming his role, Pickell led the acquisition of Aha! Go, the online home exchange and vacation rental marketplace launched by two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. By purchasing Aha! Go, HomeExchange.com will gain nearly 5,000 members, reinforcing the company's position as the largest home exchange service in the world and establishing a network of more than 50,000 members across over 150 countries.
Pickell brings proven experience with scaling online services, introducing new technologies and disrupting traditional business models. "I'm thrilled by our record year and the Aha! Go acquisition, coupled with Jim's operational pedigree, set the pace for rapid expansion," says Ed Kushins, founder of HomeExchange.com. "Aha! Go was created to help savvy travelers save thousands of dollars on each vacation while enjoying a genuine local experience – goals Jim recognized perfectly aligned with our philosophy."
"HomeExchange.com was the first of its kind to create fantastic opportunities for people seeking non traditional ways to travel and experience new cultures," said Pickell. "I'm joining a company with a more than 20 year track record of building community and trust while introducing the masses to the sharing economy, a concept that's only now realizing its huge potential. The acquisition of Aha! Go is an important significant step in securing our position as the market leader."
Pickell was a founder of OpenEnglish.com, the leading online language school in Latin America, recently valued in excess of $350 million. Formerly, as Senior Vice President of SONY Connect he was responsible for the digital distribution of films, music and eBooks. He was previously a corporate attorney, advising high tech clients on mergers and acquisitions. Pickell holds a degree in Economics from UC Berkeley, a law degree from Loyola Law School and an MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA.
HomeExchange.com traces its roots to 1992 and has since evolved into the leading global home exchanging and alternate accommodation travel service facilitating 400,000 exchanges. The company has seen an unprecedented 400% growth from 2006 to present with an increase from 10,000 listing to 50,000, fueled by its loyal Member database. Currently, 81% of Members have swapped homes more than once via HomeExchange.com. For more information on HomeExchange.com, please visit www.homeexchange.com.
HomeExchange.com was named one of the fastest growing private companies in America in 2013 on the Inc. 500 / 5000 list for a third consecutive year. Started in 1992 by Ed Kushins, HomeExchange.com has evolved into the largest and fastest growing online home exchange travel company in the world. This year their 50,000+ Members will make over 120,000 home swaps across more than 150 countries. HomeExchange.com makes it easy to plan and enjoy a home exchange vacation in almost any country, city or area of interest and offers travelers a memorable, authentic 'live like a local' experience. The site is now available in 16 different languages.