So, there we were, trying to close our £5m investment round, running out of money fast, and just having launched the first version of Moonfruit (not even called SiteMaker at that point).
www.moonfruit.com launched on January 20 2000 in a splash of media coverage. The first version of the product had many similarities to how it is today, but some of the metaphors and interfaces were pretty conceptual. You entered the Moonfruit virtual world where you were directed by customer service avatars to the Site Leaders Lounge (to build a site), or to the Destination Board (to browse for sites already built).
I’ve built a site which gives you a bit of a walk-through of the first version of Moonfruit, showing the site building process, and site edit tools, etc. You’ll see some familiar stuff, and some other things that may seem a bit crazier with today’s 20:20 hindsight. But this was the beginning. Have a look at;
But what was going on behind the scenes at this time? Well the team was pretty much divided between being stressed about the product launch, and stressed about raising the cash. The operations team had no idea what volumes of customers to expect, and or how the product would be received. The press were starting to write stories and reviews of Moonfruit, and we were waiting to see what people thought.
Oh, and the money was still running out, and we still didn’t have an investor.
But thankfully all that changed on 5 Feb 2000 when we secured £5m of investment from Europ@web which was a Paris based venture capital fund, who had also invested in QXL, Ebay, LibertySurf and Cisco. The cash meant we could continue our rapid expansion, and invest more in marketing, which that was the all important dotcom ingredient for success (or so conventional wisdom had it).
Here’s the original article from our launch day.
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