An FT Profile of me working on Moreover, from the early days of the Internet.
A profile on me as an early Internet pioneer in the Financial Times, in March 1999, while I was working on my third startup, Moreover.com. The piece is early enough that it isn’t online, to link to.
Moreover was the first online news search engine, prior to Google news.
What is interesting about it 23 years later is that it’s a very early piece on East London as a technology hub (my first startup, in 1995, Realtime Anywhere, had been the first Internet company in Shoreditch). It also talks about nomadic working from laptops, anywhere in the world, which is commonplace now, post covid, but which was unusual enough then to pique the interest of the FT.
The original text of the piece:
FINANCIAL TIMES WEDNESDAY MARCH 3 1999
NEW BRITISH ECONOMY THE ‘FLEXTECHUTIVES’
Internet start-up company finds fertile ground in an old tea warehouse
In an old tea warehouse in London’s Clerkenwell district, Dave Galbraith is beavering away on his latest project, Moreover.
It is a service that will collate news from the internet, index it, publish the headlines, and send readers to the web sites of originator. Moreover will eventually become such a powerful supplier of “eyeballs” to the information vendors that they will be keen to pay the company for its services.
That is the theory. Mr Gal braith and his two partners (one of whom is a former Financial Times journalist) are spending their time honing the software for the service, due to be launched shortly. They are also trying to raise the finance required if it is to have any chance of success.
They are not alone. Internet start-ups are blossoming, and London’s Clerkenwell, Hoxton and Shoreditch districts have become the technology hotspots of the new market.
The districts, formerly in a run-down area of east London, have large old industrial buildings that have been seen as perf for conversion into fionable offices and apartments. They have also spawned a myriad of trendy bars and restaurants.
The workers at the internet start-ups have become identified as the “new digerati”, or the “flextechutives”. Dressed in casual sportswear, they are part of the growing trend fusing entrepreneurship with technology.
Mr Galbraith, at the age of 32, certainly fits this description. Moreover, which was founded in September last year, is his third internet start-up.
He describes himself and his partners as “serial entrepreneurs” in their approach.
“Once we have got Moreover up and running, we’ll move on to the next project,” he said.
His confidence comes from the fact that his previous two projects were successful. The first set up an intranet for a health authority four years ago. The second was the origins.net website, a genealogy database and one of the most popular sources for UK family history on the internet.
The three men met at school. Mr Galbraith trained as an architect, but became more interested in the technology side of the business. He teamed up with one partner for the health authority project and has not looked back.
“I love the excitement of creating technology businesses. Moreover would have needed 400 people to run it before computers and the internet,” Mr Galbraith said.
Now there are just the three founders and one other programmer. Mr Galbraith likes the liberation technology brings to his work. All four work from the warehouse on laptops. With its stripped floors, easy chairs and cat, the scene is more urban home than traditional office.
“The idea of the laptops is that we can work from anywhere, so that we are as mobile as possible. We could pack up and move to the [Californian] west coast within an hour. It makes us more flexible, we can move faster. We are like a guerrilla army. He sees his long-term future in the US, “where the cutting edge of technology is”.
The company, which has been meeting with venture capitalists, is looking for a US-style investment, where a shareholder would come in with not only money but also experience in developing young technology companies.
It is hoping for a valuation of about £2.5m in its first round of financing. It estimates that its nominal investment in the venture is around £200,000.
Analysts say there has been an upsurge in interest in internet start-ups from investors, partly reflecting the high valuations of listed internet stocks and the beginnings of some high quality businesses.