Northeastern graduate Ben Preston is working to reinvent the marketplace for construction equipment by taking it to the internet.
He co-founded Gearflow, the first online marketplace for buying, selling, researching, and repairing construction equipment and parts.
“This platform is for every tier of the supply chain,” says Preston, who graduated from Northeastern in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. “Our goal is to unify the community within construction and bring the industry into the information age.”
A bulldozer can cost up to $200,000, but Preston says it was difficult to explore the ins and outs of such a costly piece of equipment online until Gearflow launched last year. Now his online marketplace makes it easier to buy, sell, and learn more about dump trucks, diesel generators, concrete saws, and more.
Preston and his business partner Luke Powers hope to completely transform the market for construction equipment. “We want to build a better community in this market,” says Preston. “Gearflow helps smaller sellers compete with giant brands, and gives everyone better access to manufacturing.”
Preston says he caught the entrepreneurial bug after helping students launch startups in IDEA, Northeastern’s student-led business accelerator.
“I worked with IDEA like it was a startup of my own,” says Preston. “My job was to help people get a better value out of the experience.”
Now a few of his former colleagues in IDEA are helping Preston take Gearflow to the next level. They have introduced him to potential investors—or invested in the online marketplace themselves.
“After my time at Northeastern I always wanted to be on the founding team of a startup,” says Preston. “It’s great to be a part of that now.”