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The Lawyer-Entrepreneurs Behind Swaptree

Take eBay and replace its cash-based e-commerce with a system of bartering and you have the basic idea behind Swaptree, a site launched in 2006 by two Boston-based entrepreneurs. While I'd heard about Swaptree, I had not realized that its two founders, Greg Boesel and Mark Hexamer, are lawyers and graduates of my alma mater, Boston College Law School. According to this short piece from the BC Web site, the pair graduated from BC in 1999 with joint JDs and MBAs.

While Swaptree is not the first bartering site, it is the first, according to a 2006 story in Business 2.0 magazine, to allow direct trades among more than two people. "Thanks to a nifty algorithm designed by Boesel, Swaptree can engineer three- and even four-way trades among users who want different things." This makes Swaptree like eBay, "but better," the article says.

Boesel and Hexamer launched their first business before they even graduated from BC. As law students in 1998, they created Sidebar Software, a company that markets the legal-research software tool CiteIt!. They initially started Swaptree with $200,000 raised from family and friends before receiving an infusion of $2 million in capital from additional investors. While Swaptree is free to use, the pair plan to make money through advertising. Another lawyer-turned-entrepreneur, Michael Arrington, has several reports on Swaptree at his blog TechCrunch.

Footnote: A quick search suggests that Swaptree may be just the place to locate or unload used law books.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on December 19, 2007 at 01:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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