In my previous post, I explained how the idea of iWeb originated; from my days as an accounting student to my first job connecting companies, and I left off at the inception of Formatek; the company that would eventually become iWeb.
Early in 1996, Formatek offered many services related to the Internet, including training, website design (well, web page at that point), hardware sales, custom software, and a few other services that companies were willing to contract us for.Martin Leclair, with whom I co-founded iWeb, was a collaborator on many of these projects. After a few months, Martin and I started to realize just how well we worked together. Martin, though sometimes a little introverted, has always had a more cerebral approach, thinking of new ways to offer the best web services and working on « what’s next ». As a (complementary) contrast to Martin’s abilities, I was more extroverted, and much more interested in developing the business side of things, like financing and management.
By the end of 1997, Martin and I decided to focus more on a specific « niche » market, web hosting. Specifically, web hosting in French. We knew that as a small group of individuals, we would have a hard time competing against the big IT companies unless we had an edge, and the opportunity to meet the needs of francophone customers was right there.We also knew that one day, everything would eventually be digital; it was the beginning of MP3 music/Napster, digital cameras, online games, VOIP telephony, IMS (chat with ICQ), etc. We had to get started right away!! Early in 1998, to test our market, we launched boutique-iweb.com which offered 4 test services; Web hosting, HTML training, toner and finally, IT books. The big winner, as you might guess, was Web hosting
Once we saw the results, we decided to merge all the companies we were operating; Formatek.qc.ca, Infonet.qc.ca, and WebDepart.com, to officially launch iWeb-hosting.com in 1998 and create iWeb technologies! In early 99, we created the current version of the company, iWeb Group (here is the press release, it was only published in French, sorry)
Next time, I’ll tell you the first years of iWeb, now that we were focused on web hosting!