Yell boosts local ecommerce tools with Moonfruit buy

17/05/2012

Yell has bought DIY website and online shop builder Moonfruit for £18m as part of its ongoing strategy to become a leading provider of local eMarketplaces. Moonfruit.com was launched in 2000 for consumers and businesses to build their own sites. Customers building Moonfruit sites can add a commerce option, Facebook stores, and a mobile presence from the same platform.

Watch a video explaining how MoonFruit works here:

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So far nearly 5m websites and 230,000 online shops have been created, most in the UK and US. Key members of Moonfruit’s senior management team will stay with the business for at least two years.

The move forms part Yell’s strategy to grow through platforms and digital portals where consumers can do business with small and medium-sized companies.

The strategy is intended to replace its current business in online and print telephone directories, now a declining market.

Yell said the purchase will grow its ability to provide “cutting-edge websites, mobile sites and simple ‘light’ commerce services to millions of SMEs.”

Mike Pocock, chief executive of Yell, said: “The addition of Moonfruit’s services and team helps us provide competitive advantage to our global SME customers in connecting with customers through digital, mobile and social.”

Moonfruit took £1.57 million in funding in 2010 from investors Stephens(US) and Silicon Valley based angels – Dave McClure 500 Startups, Robbie Van-Adibe and Theorem.

It rose to prominence in 2009 after running a promotional campaign using the viral power of Twitter's trending topics.

In celebration of their 10th birthday, they offered Twitter users the chance to win an Apple MacBook Pro just by tweeting their tag; "#moonfruit". One PC would be given away each day for 10 days to a random tweeter who had used the tag. This campaign was successful enough to keep the #moonfruit tag at the top of the trending topics for an entire week and garnered some media attention, before eventuially being manually removed by Twitter from the trending topics.

Wendy Tan-White, founder and chief executive officer of Moonfruit, said: “We built Moonfruit to make it easy to publish and sell on the internet, and provide stylish web, blog and shop designs as well as easy-to-use web tools for SMEs. Joining Yell and integrating with its local eMarketplace provides access to larger audiences and additional resource to accelerate what is a common vision for the future.”

Last year Yell bought multi-store ecommerce specialist Znode to provide SMEs with enterprise opportunities through its ecommerce platform.

While Znode technology is providing SMEs with enterprise opportunities through its ecommerce platform, Moonfruit offers them “light” commerce, and the opportunity to enhance their presence online, on mobile and on social.

www.yellgroup.com

www.moonfruit.com

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