[Mara] Zepeda, a former journalist for National Public Radio, originally envisioned the service as a networking platform for her alma mater, Reed College in Portland, where she served on the alumni board. She took inspiration, oddly enough, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Hay Net site, where farmers can either ask for hay or offer hay for sale. She and co-founder Sean Lerner built the original Switchboard just for Reed, but they quickly realized that the platform they’d built could be useful to other communities and decided to found a company.
Check out this neato article from Wired about Switchboard, a start-up founded by Reed graduates Mara Zepeda ‘02 and Sean Lerner ‘10 for Reedies and others. Fun fact: Elly Blue, mentioned in the article, is also a Reed grad.
To learn more about Switchboard, check out these articles from the Reed Magazine:
Plugging Into the Switchboard (December 2012)
Reed Switchboard Selected from 400 Applicants for $20K Slice of PIE (August 2013)
The Reed Switchboard Lights Up (March 2014)