Last (and first) time we wrote about Finnish stealth startup Fruugo, we feared that they might be stumbling right before their expected launch at the upcoming SIME conference. The company was rumored to be burning heaps of cash and laying off staff at a rapid pace before an actual product was ever released to the public.
That on itself is extraordinary, considering that Fruugo is assumed to be backed by tens of millions of euros, employs a workforce of around 100 people (they all sign NDAs when they get on board) and its board of directors has been joined by people like Nokia’s former CEO Jorma Ollila, and F-Secure Founder/Chairman Risto Siilasmaa. But Fruugo ended up not launching anything at SIME, building up even more anticipation (or hype, whichever) for their imminent social shopping platform / virtual marketplace.
Fortunately, local tech blog ArcticStartup is following the developments closely and has announced this morning that Fruugo is now in closed beta mode. One of the bloggers was invited to their offices this week and was shown a preview of the service, which the company seems to be having trouble with labelling (“Janne Waltonen, VP Marketing & Communication, mentioned that they have not really figured out yet what to call Fruugo”).
According to ArcticStartups:
What Fruugo wants to do is to make it simple and safe to sell and buy things online across the Europe regardless of the country borders. The transaction participants should be able to complete the transaction just if they were in the same country, using their local currency and language.
More information is provided in this blog post.
They also shared some screenshots for the live beta service, which is subject to change on both a functional and design level as it’s still being actively developed. Here they are:
More screenshots can be found on Fruugo’s Flickr stream.