04 Jun 2012 - Münster (by Dominik)

Build something you love and get funded with a tweet

Hi, this is Dominik - I am the CEO and a Co-Founder of fruux and want to tell you a little story.

We've been very quiet on this blog for much too long and finally want to fix that. We've promised ourselves to get into the habit of posting tidbits about fruux, the technical challenges we face and other stuff that's hopefully interesting for you.

Those of you who've been following fruux since its early days in 2007 might know that we started as a student project. Back then we synced only contacts between Apple computers. fruux has evolved over time and with us our user base. In the beginning fruux was created to solve a simple problem: We were looking for a way to keep our own personal data in sync, never had we imagined to create an actual product. That just happened because of you! Somehow we got coverage in several magazines & websites and all of a sudden we were receivung emails from people that wanted to use fruux. We didn't even have a signup routine back then and had to manually set up accounts for every single user.

This is how we operated for a couple of years until in 2010 fruux eventually grew into a real product. We started an actual business and incorporated in late 2010.

In 2011 we made the decision to start completely from scratch. We developed an entirely revamped fruux throughout the year and silently released it around new years eve 2011/2012. Since then fruux is based on open standards (CardDAV and CalDAV) and no longer on proprietary technology. That’s a big win for you, because it helps us supporting tons of devices and applications and also frees your data from vendor lock-ins.

Besides our complete revamp another story happened in 2011

It looks like a walk in the park in retrospect, but rest assured: It wasn't. Especially because at this time I was still in the middle of the preparation phase of my second legal state exam (just recently passed, beers on me!). (Full disclosure: I worked as a developer before I started studying law in 2005 and probably/hopfully! still qualify more as a developer who studied law than a lawyer who does software development). ;-)

Back then the High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) tweeted "Where are the german Quoras? Pls send us your exec sum". Without thinking too much about it we fired a direct message back and argued that it's boring to "buy into the hype" instead of "making waves yourself". What followed was a short DM exchange where HTGF explained us that they were not looking for german Quoras to invest in and that the tweet was meant as a way to find a similar tool for internal usage. So we replied: "Okay then. Oh and by the way… how can we get in touch with you guys?". We got an email address from one of their investment managers, quickly sent a brief overview of fruux. Just a few days after this initial tweet I was on my way to the headquarters of HTGF to tell them more about fruux. It turned out that HTGF was quite interested. A little later we were in actual due diligence with them, provided tons of information about the company, the team and our ideas for the future. Just a few months after that phase we had our final pitch in front of HTGF's investment committee and got the "go ahead". I was still almost fully booked by with my law stuff back then and it turns out that in the very week before my big exams I meet with Prof. Dr. Tobias Kollmann from netStart Venture to pitch fruux and the idea of becoming a co-investor in it. We had a good chat and found a common base on a possible deal right away. Just a few days later we also got their offer and accepted. During the following two weeks I wrote my exams and in parallel started to implement the deal with the involved law firms and our investors.

In early 2012 finally everything was signed and our six-figure seed-round sealed.

Complete re-launch and first official press release

Our main goal is (and always was): Providing a very elegant and reliable sync service that’s supported on a huge amount of different devices, doesn't lock you in with a specific vendor and is easy to setup and use without being a rocket surgeon. So after dumping our legacy technology and starting from scratch (like we did in 2011) we did the same with our website. On March 20th (probably at 05:00 in the morning) we finally flipped the switch and released our new completely redesigned website and our new web application. The whole team and especially my co-founders Evert (our CTO) and Martin (our UX/UI designer) worked days and nights to make that happen. Thanks all!

Our web app now shows you an activity feeds of devices/apps that have recently synced with your account and provides easy to follow setup instructions for a huge array of devices and applications. This new web app is just the beginning. We've made sure that it is a great framework for additional features and we hope that you'll have lots of suggestions. On March 21th we finally made our funding public in our first official press release.

Pheeew - that was a fun ride so far, but we have literally just begun. For the future we've planned tons of new features and especially want to make fruux really great for teams.

We hope you like our revamp and the stuff we're building in the future.

If you read all the way until here and don't have a fruux account yet: Go ahead and get started at http://fruux.com.

About Dominik

Dominik started fruux back in 2007. He's a lawyer that writes code and has Amazon subscriptions for stuff that normal people buy in the supermarket. Follow him on Twitter or contact him via e-mail.

fruux is a free service that looks after your contacts, calendars and tasks so you don't have to. It makes sure that they are always in sync, no matter which device or operating system you're using. If you've not tried it yet, then why not check us out and let us know what you think! And if you're already using fruux, then we'd love to hear your thoughts and comments. You can also suggest a feature for any upcoming releases or tweet us: @fruux.