Carroll School graduates Greg Boesel JD, MBA'99 and Mark Hexamer JD, MBA'99 have created technology that elevates Internet bartering from simple one-for-one trades among two parties to more complex deals in which multiple traders can participate. Moreover, there's no cost to users of their web site, Swaptree, because its revenues come from advertising. Boesel describes how their concept was born in 2004: "My partner Mark Hexamer would come back from visiting his mom in Florida with 12 hardcover books, which we always ended up trading. It got us thinking about how to make trades happen. I was interested in the math behind it, and started working with some algorithms to make two-, three-, and four-way trades."
The two already had a successful business track record. As Carroll School of Management students they created a company in 1998 called "Sidebar Software," which marketed a product to facilitate legal research. For Swaptree, family and friends provided an initial $200,000 to support development, and two years later, with the infusion of $2 million from additional investors, the partners launched the web site. There are other Internet sites at which individuals can make trades, but Swaptree "is, significantly, the first site to pull off direct trades between more than two people," thanks to Boesel's "nifty algorithm" wrote Michael Copeland in CNN Money, which dubbed the new site "the eBay of swap, but better."
"About Us," from the Swaptree site
Article about impending launch of Swaptree in the July 27, 2006 Christian Science Monitor
Article on Swaptree in CNN Money
Discussion of strengths and potential weaknesses of Swaptree in the blog, Techcrunch
Carroll School of Management description of Sidebar Software (scroll down)