Swaptree Raises $6 Million, Names CEO

Swaptree.com, a Boston-based operator of an online swap-meet, has raised $6 million in VC funding led by Safeguard Scientifics. The company also named Jeff Bennett, former president and COO of NameMedia, as its new CEO.


Swaptree.com, the easiest way to swap books, CDs, DVDs and video games, today announced that Jeff Bennett has been named Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company.

Bennett has been an active digital citizen since the mid-1990s. Most recently, he was the Founder, President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of NameMedia. Under Bennett’s leadership, NameMedia built one of the most massive domain portfolios in the world; created the leading secondary domain market on the planet; and established a media network that today serves over 60 million visitors per month. Prior to NameMedia, Bennett was Executive Vice President of Corporate Development and Vice President and General Manager of eCommerce at Lycos.

Swaptree.com also announced a $6 million financing round led by Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. (NYSE: SFE), with participation from numerous private investors. This latest infusion of capital will be used for new hires and marketing initiatives focused on fueling the growth and uncontested dominance of the ‘online swap’ category. The new round of financing brings Swaptree.com’s total capital raised to date to $11.95 million.

“Swaptree.com is poised to become synonymous with the category of ‘online swap’ in the same way eBay has become synonymous with ‘online auctions’,” said Jeff Bennett, CEO of Swaptree.com. “After spending the last year on Swaptree.com’s board of directors, I’m very eager to assume leadership of the company. I look forward to making Boston-based Swaptree.com an iconic Internet business and one that will positively impact the health of the planet.”

In 2009 alone, Swaptree.com members conducted more than one million swaps on the site; saved members $5,549,058; and enabled members to reduce their carbon footprint by 5,011,078 pounds, in total. Swaptree.com is often referred to by mainstream media outlets as “the eBay of Swap.” The swapping platform offers an easy, feel good way for people to recycle the stuff they have and get things they want while reducing consumption of new products.

“The opportunity to develop and own an enormous category online is as good as it gets for entrepreneurs and investors alike,” said Erik B. Rasmussen, Vice President and Managing Director at Safeguard Scientifics. “There is a highly visible swap movement sweeping the globe. Providing this additional round of growth capital will augment Swaptree.com’s ability to accelerate and capitalize on this trend while enabling consumers to save money and protect the environment.”

Along with other staff additions, the company announced that Carl Schwartz has been named VP of Marketing for Swaptree.com. Schwartz joins Swaptree.com with vast internet business experience, including positions at Cheapflights, Monster.com and Lycos.

“With millions of people listing millions of things, the swap opps are staggering,” said Carl Schwartz, VP of Marketing at Swaptree.com. “We are amped to build a colossal internet business that helps consumers save money and live greener. Seriously, it doesn’t get much better than that.”

About Swaptree.com

Swaptree.com is the easiest way to swap your stuff–books, music, movies and video games. An award-winning website that brings people together to swap the stuff they have for the stuff they want, Swaptree.com helps users feel good knowing they are saving cash and the planet. With millions of people listing millions of things, the swap opps are staggering. Swaptree.com is a privately held company headquartered in Boston, MA. For more information please visit www.swaptree.com. Follow us on Twitter @swaptree.

About Safeguard Scientifics

Founded in 1953 and based in Wayne, PA, Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. (NYSE: SFE) provides growth capital for entrepreneurial and innovative life sciences and technology companies. Safeguard targets life sciences companies in Molecular and Point-of-Care Diagnostics, Medical Devices, Regenerative Medicine and Specialty Pharmaceuticals, and technology companies in Internet / New Media, Financial Services IT and Healthcare IT with capital requirements of up to $25 million. Safeguard participates in expansion financings, corporate spin-outs, management buyouts, recapitalizations, industry consolidations and early-stage financings. For more information, please visit www.safeguard.com or blog.safeguard.com