Hi I’m Wendy Tan White, founder of Moonfruit.com and Marketing Director of Gandi.net. I’m a tech entrepreneur, mother of two and a smart textiles designer for fun. When I started out in tech in 1989 there were certainly no groups like Girls n Gadgets, SiliconStillettoes or TheNextWomen so I’m really pleased there are thriving ‘Geek Girl’ communities who are having their say everywhere!
Moonfruit provides online tools for businesses, freelancers, designers and communities to build ‘Beautiful websites, simply.’ Our next release will include the addition of ‘Moonfruit People’, in response to our vocal customer base. In the Web 2.0 space, they expect to be able to promote their websites to their social networks and to generate content for their websites more collaboratively.
Gandi.net is a top European domain registrar and virtual hosting provider. It’s know for being ethical registrar in an industry of ‘grey practices’. We’re the leading registrar in France with a significant customer base in the UK and US. We also launched a leading edge virtual hosting service last year, or ‘cloud infrastructure’. Specifically for small and medium sized businesses, our entry costs are lower than services like Amazon’s EC2. You only pay for what you use and you can add on more in real time as you need it, it’s resilient.
I founded Moonfruit in 1999 with my friend Eirik Pettersen, now Gandi’s CTO. I picked him on a ‘Cilla’ style blind date event, day 1 at Imperial College, studying computer science. I was head hunted from a software consultancy by a client, Richard Duvall, to set up Egg the first internet bank as head of CRM. He was an inspirational director, mentor and friend, letting me work part time while raising funding for Moonfruit, then becoming a seed investor. In 2004 he set-up the first peer to peer lending site www.zopa.com, he considered me an ‘old hand’ by then having raised £8m+ and scraped through the dot com crash of 2000. I advised him for a few months while I took a break from Moonfruit to have my two children and do an MA in Textile Futures at Central St Martins.
The main man in my Internet journey is my husband Joe White. I first met him running a web agency from an attic in Soho while doing his finals at Cambridge. He and Tony his partner built Moonfruit 1.0, introduced us to Bain who gave us an angel round, experienced the buzz of San Francisco when we raised funds from the president of Macromedia Ventures, ‘Big’ Norm Meyrowitz (discovered Flash). I had to sack Joe plus 48 other people in Moonfruit during the dotcom crash. Eirik and I had raised it back from the dead to profitability. Joe returned in 2004 applying McKinsey expertise to the business and it’s flourished to a point where Moonfruit’s grown 70% since last year.
And why on earth did I do a degree in Computer Science? My mum and dad both worked in tech and I’d seen how fast paced and exciting it could be. My parents did projects all over the world and had dynamic careers for 30 years. My mum was supported well as a working mother by the industry and never thought being a woman in the industry was an issue.
And I have to agree with her … It’s been a roller coaster but I’ve never had a dull moment in the tech industry. Far from being hampered as a woman I’ve been well supported by both genders. It’s provided me with the flexibility to care for my children and pursue other interests as well as run my own business. Gotta love it!