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“We believe the best means of advertisement is word of mouth”: Interview with Evert Pot, co-founder & CTO of fruux

A few days ago, we did an interview with Evert Pot, the co-founder and CTO of fruux.

fruux describes itself as a Dropbox for contacts, calendars and tasks. The Muenster-based startup has developed a solution that automatically syncs contacts, calendars and to-dos through the cloud. The use of open standards such as CardDAV and CalDAV makes it easy to deploy across different devices and many different vendors. This also ensures that the user’s data does not suffer from vendor lock-in.

fruux was started in 2007 by Dominik Tobschall as a mere hobby beside his studies. The project grew and grew and was incorporated in 2010. Around the end of December 2011, the fruux team brought its Mac-only tool to lots of other platforms. Since then, fruux is based on the open protocols and RFC standard CardDAV and CalDAV.

Earlier this year, the fruux website and app has been completely revamped. In addition, the young company has recently announced it secured a seed round with High-Tech Gründerfonds and netStart Venture.

What makes fruux unique or better than other contact, calendar and task management tools out there?

With fruux, we are very focused on just the synchronization problem. Our web application serves mainly as a place to manage your data, but once you have set everything up, you can forget about it.

For many of the existing management tools, there’s a strong focus on the web application first. We want you to use the tools you already prefer, and make everything as reliable and simple as possible.

Right now, fruux is “only” available in English. Do you have any plans to support additional languages or enter additional markets within, or outside, the EU soon?

Absolutely. Our team consists of Germans, and I’m Dutch myself, so these will likely be the next languages we support. We’ll have to decide what’s after that based on demand.

What is your impression of fruux’s market acceptance so far, and what kind of marketing strategies do you use in order to promote the application and fruux as a brand?

Our userbase is evergrowing, at an increasing rate, and most people seem to like it and ask for more features. We try to get into people’s minds through getting published on blogs, and we’re experimenting a bit with paid advertising. We believe the best means of advertisement is word of mouth though, and the best way to achieve that is to create a product good enough for people to want to talk about it.

The basic version of fruux is completely free and enables users to manage an unlimited amount of contacts, calendars and tasks with up to 3 devices. In addition to the free plan, you’ll soon launch a Pro and a Team plan soon. When are you going to launch these two premium plans, and can you give us a little insight on what users can expect?

Our pro account will give you the ability to sync more devices, as well as services like Google calendar and Apple’s iCloud, and the ability to remotely wipe calendars and address books from a device (in case you lost it, or it got stolen).

The team account will focus on allowing you to share this data within groups of people. You will be able to create central addressbooks and calendars, and look into your co-workers information, if they allow it.

There’s more, and we might still make adjustments as we progress, but these are our most important goals. We plan to release these features within the next 6 months.

Is fruux hiring right now? And if so, what kind of talent are you looking for?

Yes! We are looking for a couple of different people. We’re looking for developers, but also PR and marketing people. If you’re a great PHP programmer and excited to work in a startup, don’t hesitate to drop us a line. Our ‘jobs’ page has the full list of open positions.

Why would someone want to come work for you?

Besides the unlimited supply of coffee, and beers on Friday, we try to make a point out of doing things well. We put quality over quantity. We don’t have a boring 40-hour work week, and don’t count vacation days. We want you to get stuff done, do it well and be happy while doing so.

What is your experience of Münster as a location to start a company and why don’t you move to Berlin, London or the Silicon Valley?

We like it! Münster is small, but vibrant. It’s very much a student city, and it’s hard to get bored here. For fruux specifically it doesn’t really matter where we’re based. We want to make a globally appealing product, but sometimes we just need to take slightly longer train rides 🙂

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Thomas Ohr
Thomas Ohr
Thomas Ohr is the "Editor in Chief" of EU-Startups.com and started the blog in October 2010. He is excited about Europe's future, passionate about new business ideas and lives in Barcelona (Spain).

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