Yell, the publisher of the Yellow Pages phone directory, has acquired UK start-up firm Moonfruit.
The £18 million acquisition of the DIY website and online shop builder is part of Yell’s plans to create a local eMarketplace, moving away from its roots in providing print and online advertising for SMEs.
In addition, Yell hopes the acquisition will enable it to cut its costs of website construction, proofing and editing in the future.
The eMarketplace is a digital portal where consumers can connect and transact with SMEs.
According to Yell, the acquisition will enhance its ability to provide websites, mobile sites and ‘light’ commerce services to millions of SMEs. Moonfruit allows users to build a site, and then add a commerce option, a mobile presence and build a Facebook store, all from the same platform.
SMEs are currently able to use an ecommerce platform based on technology from Znode, which Yell acquired last year. With Moonfruit, the eMarketplace will be accessible to more merchants, Yell said.
Mike Pocock, CEO of Yell, said: “The addition of Moonfruit’s services and team helps us provide competitive advantage to our global SME customers in connecting with consumers through digital, mobile and social.”
Moonfruit launched in the UK in 2000. Nearly five million websites and 230,000 online shops, mainly in the UK and the US, have been created using Moonfruit.com’s technology.
It will remain as a sub-brand of the Yell group. Moonfruit co-founders CEO Wendy Tan-White, chief operating officer Joe White and chief technology officer (CTO) Eirik Petterson will take senior roles in Yell Group, with Tan-White and White reporting directly to Yell’s global chief digital officer Scott Moore.
Wendy Tan-White is well known as a leading female entrepreneur in the UK start-up community. She was celebrated as entrepreneur of the year at the everywoman in Technology awards in 2011.