What does the Company do?
uTest is a software testing company. We leverage our crowdsourcing model (45,000+ testers from 180 countries around the world) to test web, desktop and mobile applications for a wide range of companies - from early-stage startups to global enterprises like Google, Amazon, Bloomberg and Facebook.
When was the Company founded?
We started working on the business plan and raised our seed money to build the prototype in 2007. Our soft launch was in April 2008, and our GA launch was a few months later in August 2008.
What is your role at the Company?
CEO & co-founder
What inspired you to start the Company?
My co-founder and I had both experienced the pain, cost and frustration of trying to test software via traditional means. We were doing everything right - in-house QA, outsourced, automation, documentation - but unexpected defects still emerged when we put our apps in the hands of users, every single time. So we started thinking about moving testing outside the lab and into the wild. And the only way to do that was through a crowdsourced model. Thus, uTest was born.
How 's business? Phenomenal. App testing is an unsexy market, but it's a great business, and we're executing extremely well. Our top-line growth has been outstanding -even better than our aggressive goals.
Product & Market
Who buys the product?
uTest sells to the technology organization within our customers. This could be engineering, QA, product or IT.
How do you sell the product?
uTest sells its testing services via three channels:
Inside sales team, which caters to startups and SMBs
Outside sales team, which focuses on enterprises
Partners, who bundle uTest into their existing offering so they can provide real-world testing services.
Why is QA a pain point or must have product?
Because more companies are building apps - whether it's a website, an iPhone app, a desktop client, or an app for Android. Even firms that wouldn't consider themselves "software companies" are now launching apps (eg: retailers, media firms, education companies, gaming startups, healthcare providers). And these companies need their apps to work as expected in the hands of their users.
How is the market evolving?
The testing market is huge (IDC estimated it as $59B) and growing rapidly. And uTest's in-the-wild testing has been a runaway success, being adopted by hundreds of startups & SMBs, as well as global brands like Google, Microsoft, AOL and Facebook.
How do you market the product?
We do an outstanding job of building mindshare within our target audience, without spending a fortune on marketing. We've been fortunate that our crowdsourced testing story has been covered by the media so extensively and so positively. Beyond that, we're big believers in the idea of inbound marketing, which leverages original content to help educate the market about topics such as mobile app testing, QA in an agile environment, or security testing for startups. We produce free whitepapers, eBooks and webinars on topics that matter to our target audience.
Where is the Company located?
The Company is headquartered just outside of Boston in Southborough. We also have offices in San Francisco, London and Tel Aviv.
Why is that an attractive location for your business?
First of all, we go where the talent is. And the Boston market is a great place for a tech startup. Second, we wanted to have a significant presence near our customers. And there are a LOT of apps being built and tested in the Boston and San Francisco markets. Third, we wanted geographic diversity so that we could provide exceptional service to our global base of customers and testers, which our locations in Boston, San Fran, London and Tel Aviv provide for us.
What 's your company culture like?
Our company culture is pretty interesting. [STEREOTYPE ALERT!!] I sometimes think we were born on the wrong coast, as we tend to act more like a Valley startup than a Boston startup.
We take our work extremely seriously, demanding long hours and major results, which can be a little too intense for some people. But we're trying to change the world, and that's never easy. At the same time we don't take ourselves seriously, as evidenced by:
Our decision to convert our best conference room (corner office, great light) into a game room, complete with poker table and Xbox Kinnect
Our monthly tradition of "Thirsty Third Thursdays" where most of the company gathers at a local watering hole for drinks and food... on uTest, of course.
Our weekly putting contests in the office
Our conscious decision to remain a jeans & tee-shirt attire, our flexible office hours, and our 'no policy' vacation policy.
In fact, uTest has been named to the BBJ 'Best Places to Work' list the past two years - something we're immensely proud of. In fact, we were recently featured by CBS Boston for our culture (video available at www.utest.com/about).
What are the biggest challenges you'll face over the next year?
Steep growth brings unique challenges. They're good problems to have, but still issues in need of a solution. One of the top challenges we face is making the leap from a startup to a larger organization. We've gone from 10 employees to 60 in since 2009, while maintaining our startup ethos.
The next challenge, however, will be how do we keep acting like a lean, agile startup at 90 employees? 150 employees? 500 employees? Finding that balance between scale and scrappiness will be key to sustaining our rapid growth.
Why did the Company choose Longworth as a financing partner?
We were raising our B Round in the worst of times: the autumn of 2008. If you'll remember, that wasn't exactly the best time for the market. Public markets were collapsing; the VC market had tightened; and funding deals simply weren't getting done. We were extremely
fortunate to have several interested parties and a few term sheets on the table.
But what made Longworth such an ideal fit for us was their vision to see beyond the short-term market conditions, their deep understanding of uTest's business & potential, and the fact that the Longworth partners with whom we spoke were as interested as we were in building something big and disruptive.
Has Longworth helped you and your business?
Without a doubt. They've been instrumental in introducing uTest to prospective customers, partners and employees. Beyond that, they've been excellent counselors to me, as well as members of my executive team.