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Terran Exchange founders are enablers of the app economy

Ben Roberts and Alexander Veach

Ben Roberts '10, left, and Alexander Veach '09, M.Eng. '10, are founders of Terran Exchange, a "marketplace of ideas" for commercial software developers. The site is set for public launch Dec. 1.

Ben Roberts '10 and Alexander Veach '09, M.Eng. '10, are the founders of Terran Exchange, which was the August monthly winner at -- and represents that site's most popular startup submission of all time. Roberts reached out to a network of Cornellians for the competition and credited the Cornell community with amassing the 1,986 votes has collected.

Terran Exchange, which officially launches Dec. 1, gives commercial software developers an open free market system in which to present their products; users can rate, review and purchase limited licenses and, through social media, freelancers and companies can interact with a live community of buyers.

Roberts says he wants Terran Exchange to be able to give smaller application software companies the ability to compete with the much larger companies that dominate the market.

"We felt we could add the most value by providing tools for developers of software specifically in the commercial realm," Roberts explains. He wants the Terran Exchange marketplace to offer a smorgasbord of creative, engaging, value-added products for developers.

Roberts, an ILR graduate, says that one thing he learned was that while website creation is often outsourced, these lowest-cost options are not search engine optimized, for example, and many extra features are glossed over because "it's a race to the bottom … they really just churn it out, make it more of an industrial process. This is where we thought we could add value."

Veach, who majored in biological engineering as an undergrad, oversees the design, marketing, promotion, delivery and quality of Terran Exchange's services and products, while Roberts manages the day-to-day operations and evaluates performance and takes care of client relations.

"We call Terran Exchange 'The Marketplace for Ideas' because the best products rise in a merit-based free market system," Veach says, noting that he and Roberts anticipate tremendous growth in apps "for gaming, shopping, business, social media, communications and productivity tools, and there has never been a better time to be a small garage shop of a few developers.

"Like a bazaar, our marketplace will be loud in the social media arena," Veach says. "Social networking is essential when it comes to promotion of our clients' digital content to drive traffic to their product listing." Terran Exchange also offers instant-messaging and videoconferencing abilities, which all together can foster relationships between buyers and sellers. He adds that smartphone features and mobile advertising will continue to play larger and larger roles as consumers look for coupons, discounts and product demos.

In addition to Veach and Roberts, the New York City-based company has a Cornell faculty adviser (computer science professor Graeme Bailey) and several employees.


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