uTest Opens its (Brand-New) Doors!

panorama muralThose of us at team uTest have been in our swanky new penthouse headquarters for a little over a month now. This past Wednesday, we opened up our new home to our Boston-area tech friends and neighbors at our first-ever uTest HQ open house. As first reported via an interview with our CEO in the Boston Business Journal earlier this year, we’ve doubled our space and signed a multi-year lease as we prepare for the future of the apps economy. Our new offices – still in the Boston area’s thriving Metro-West tech scene – are designed in an open concept, complete with great views, a media center (complete with sliding in-wall doors), a brand-new stainless steel kitchen with retro bar stools and benches, and a post-industrial, modern feel.

Friends, neighbors and partners filled our new digs on Wednesday to take tours, eat delicious snacks, take-in our cool new mural depicting our organizational milestones (as you can see in the picture accompanying this post) and discuss our recent successes. We even received a formal acknowledgement from our State Senator congratulating us on our move.

We’ll be debuting an online tour of the new HQ soon, so be on the lookout for that. Until then, checkout some more pics from our open house and, for those attending STPcon in a few weeks, know that we’ll be delivering a keynote and exhibiting so make sure you say hello!

Demand for Tech Workers Sparking Talent War

Tech Talent in DemandBetween the recession in the United States, austerity measures in Europe and the economic turmoil in South America, there aren’t many economies that have been doing too hot in recent years. And when economies as a whole struggle, jobs and industries struggle. But while industries like manufacturing, construction and retail took a major a hit during the downturn, there’s at least one industry that has continued to grow – technology.

The pace of tech innovations, mobile dominance and cloud computing adoption has lead to what the Boston Business Journal is calling a “high tech talent war.” With big idea schools like MIT and Harvard in the backyard, Boston has become a hub of tech innovation, start-ups and established businesses. Now, the race is on for the area’s companies to stay on top by attracting the top talent. From the Boston Business Journal:

“Right now, if a tech worker posts his resume on a job board like CareerBuilder.com, he can expect more than 50 responses,” says Chris Mader, vice president of growth strategy and development at Randstad Technologies. “The demand for IT skills continues to rise. Companies are seeking increased revenue through IT. They’re seeking increased savings through IT. There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about 2013.”

According to a June poll by CIO.com, tech business leaders report that IT budgets are steadily growing, up by 4.9% overall this year. From CIO.com:

Several tech categories are seeing a bump in spending since the April 2012 study, specifically mobile/wireless (up 6% from April), outsourced services (including cloud — up 6%) and hardware (up 7%). Additionally, 48% of CIOs are using an increasing portion of their budget for new projects, and growing topline revenue is driving 36% of new project spending. Enterprise organizations (1000+ employees) are more focused on increasing external relationships and experiences (42% vs. 28% of SMB), whereas SMB (< 1000 employees) are more focused on internal support and services (37% vs. 32% of enterprises).

The rise in both external relationship spending and internal support bodes well for tech workers – with increased demand for services overall comes increased demand for talent overall. Tech professionals themselves are feeling the increase in demand and the subsequent power and security that gives them. From Boston Business Journal:

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Angel Investing Increasing, Favors Software

Good news for anyone who has a great new software idea – Angel investing is on the rise and software related companies are pulling in the biggest numbers.

According to Silicon Valley Bank’s Q1 2013 Halo Report, tech deals account for more than half of all Angel funding – which is up overall by 23%. From VentureBeat:

The good news for the tech sector is that about 60 percent of all deals and 55 percent of all investment dollars were in web, mobile, telecom, and software investments. Healthcare took the lion’s share of the remainder, with 19 percent of deals and 23 percent of dollars, while consumer products, industrial, and energy startups were all in single digits in both deal and dollar percentages. Each of the Internet, health, mobile, and software sectors saw deal volume increase.

Here’s a more tech-centric breakdown (I’m throwing consumer products and services in this list because tech is increasingly seeping into the consumer goods market):

  • Internet: 36.8% of deals; 31.8% of dollars
  • Mobile & Telecom: 16.6% of deals; 12.8% of dollars
  • Non-Mobile and Internet Software: 6.2% of deals; 8.5% of dollars
  • Consumer Products & Services: 4.1% of deals; 3% of dollars

If you want to get your idea funded, choose the right location. Silicon Valley isn’t the only player anymore – not by a long shot – though it may still be the best option if you have a tech idea.

Angel Investing by Region

Interestingly, the Southwest region edged out California for the first time in terms of total dollars invested, with 18.1 percent of all angel capital invested. California had 17.4 percent, while New England, Great Lakes, and Great Plains were the only other regions in double digits.

“Seventy-three percent of angel group deals are now done outside California and New England, although 30% of dollars are invested in these regions,” the Angel Resource Institute said.

Read more at VentureBeat >>>

Good luck new tech companies! And don’t forget, just because your employees are working around the clock and you’re strapped for cash doesn’t mean you should – or have to – forgo software testing. Good QA on a budget is possible!

BBJ Names uTest #1 on the 2013 Pacesetters List

2013_PaceSettters_WEBuTest is setting the pace in Massachusetts…and we’re not talking about uTest CEO Doron Reuveni’s ability to run the entire length of the state without breaking a sweat.

Yesterday morning at the Boston Business Journal’s Pacesetters breakfast event, the BBJ named uTest the #1 pacesetting company in the region. In case you were wondering, the Pacesetters list is comprised of seventy Massachusetts companies that recorded the highest three-year growth rate in terms of revenue. Not too shabby.

“We’re thrilled to be named as the #1 Pacesetter in the region by the Boston Business Journal,” said Doron. “It further validates our vision and execution, and is a distinct honor to be recognized alongside so many great companies. Congratulations to all of the Pacesetters.”

It is truly exciting to be a part of the top companies driving the economy in Massachusetts, and as uTest CMO Matt Johnston said earlier this month, “uTest is proud to call the Boston area our home base.”

What makes us even more thrilled is that yesterday’s Pacesetters Breakfast Event was able to raise $76,000 for the One Fund Boston. As BBJ Publisher Chris McIntosh said, “these companies displayed the kind of commitment that symbolizes Boston Strong.”

Congratulations to all the Pacesetters, and thank you to the folks at the Boston Business Journal for putting together such a great award and event!

In-The-Wild Q&A with uTest

The uTest crew in 2010... 1/6th of what it would be in 2013.

The uTest crew in 2010 – 1/6th of what it is now.

One of the items I’ve been looking forward to launching in my new role as Sr. Content Manager is inspired by Jalopnik’s “QOTD” (Question of the Day). On a daily basis Jalopnik editors will post a question in the morning such as, “What’s An Annoying Part of a Great Car?”  Readers share their ideas and that afternoon Jalopnik will do a roundup of the ten best answers. We’re going to do it slightly differently here at uTest, though.

Using the comments section below, we’ll pick a top question and put it in front of a few people here at uTest that can best answer the question. The output might be written, video or a combination of both. The question might be internal (e.g. community, product or business centric) or external (e.g. software trends, industry news, relevant events, etc.). Though our version won’t be daily, we hope to make this as regular feature. How often we do this In-the-Wild Q&A all depends on your questions, so put your thinking caps on and let the questions fly.

Let’s get those questions coming in – what questions do you have for the uTest crew?

Trading Places (…uTest Style)

trading places

Damian Roskill (left) and Matt Johnston (right) telling me about the rotation program as I reluctantly horde my Acquisition.

uTest’s mad scientist / CMO Matt Johnston is at it again… testing. For the next two weeks I, Matt Solar, will be running the Content team. Meanwhile, the blogger-formerly-known-as-Mike-Brown heads up uTest’s Acquisition team. The irony of the date is not lost on any of us.

It doesn’t stop with the two of us. For this v1 of the “uTest Rotation Program” (name subject to change) Community member Rebecca Showerman also joins me on Content, trading places with Kate Slattery. Meanwhile, Mark Barry (Community) swaps with Product Marketing Manager, Rich Weiss. While there is certainly some anxiety among the crew about what their forever 12 day future will hold, this will be a great opportunity for us – uTest employees, users and blog readers – to brainstorm, implement and test new ideas.

What does this mean for Acquisition?

I expect we’ll finally see the uTest blimp that’s been so blatantly missing for our advertising arsenal.

What does this mean for Content and the blogs?

You tell us. While I hope to prevent everything from imploding or catching fire (blogs can do that, right?) I also hope to test out a few new features, possibly something such as Q&A with developers (for the Applause App Analytics blog), Meet a uTester, Question of the Week and some more detailed posts on individual product features. We’re all ears though - let us know in the comments what we should try!

uTest a Winner of BostInno’s 50 on Fire Awards

BGXZAhXCIAAgFgG.jpg largeLast night, uTest was declared “on fire” in the tech industry by the folks at BostInno, along with 50 other innovators in the Boston area (…figuratively speaking, no need to call the fire department).

BostInno’s 50 on Fire Awards recognize the brightest companies and individuals who are setting the Boston scene ablaze with innovation.

At last night’s event, representatives from all of the nominees (over 600 of them from the more than 2,000 contenders initially considered) gathered at the Joseph Moakley Courthouse for drinks, food and fun – and to celebrate all the game-changers in Boston.

A total of 50 winners were announced across the Dining, Retail, Sports, Fitness, Arts & Entertainment, Education, Media, Design, Marketing, Advertising, Healthcare, Medicine and Tech industries. We are thrilled to join Digital Lumens, SessionM, Actifo, Crashlytics, ReThink Robotics, The Echo Nest, Adelphic Mobile and Tim Rowe of the Cambridge Innovation Center on the list of Tech winners!

Congrats to all the winners and nominees. Also, a big thanks to BostInno and all those involved for putting on such a great event!

Check out BostInno’s video of the 50 on Fire winners here:

 

@Applause at #SXSW

It has been a busy few days here at SXSW’s Interactive Festival, and there are still two more to go. So far we’ve met all sorts of tech all-stars, learned about emerging technology and trends in mobile, ate some delicious barbeque, sang karaoke – and watched the number of Applause fans grow right before our eyes.

SXSW has quickly become one of the largest conferences for mobile technology, and Applause has certainly made its mark here in Austin, Texas. Perhaps the highlight so far was our RVIP Lounge day trip to Smitty’s Market in Lockhart, TX for the world’s best barbecue:

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Some of the crew outside Smitty’s Market.

We’ve been doing quite a number of contests at the conference; from spotting people around the Austin Convention Center wearing Applause gear and awarding them a Nexus 7 tablet right on the street, to handing out t-shirts and sweatshirts to our favorite Applause fans. We will also be doing a final random drawing for an iPad, iPad Mini and an iPod Touch for anyone who has entered their business card. Here’s a look at some of our winners so far:

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Ben Sefton, desktop support team lead at AT&T. We spotted him outside the Hilton wearing an Applause t-shirt and he won a Nexus 7 Tablet.

SXSW

Dale Beermann, Chief Technology and Analytics Officer at Study Blue won a Nexus 7 Tablet! StudyBlue also had the top Applause score of the day for their iOS app: View Applause Score

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Going to #SXSWi? You Won’t Want to Miss the @Applause RVIP

@Applause at #SXSWIt’s that time of year again when all the brightest minds in emerging technology flood the city of Austin, Texas for compelling presentations, an unbelievable lineup of networking events – and of course, some killer parties. South by Southwest’s 2013 Interactive Festival is only two days away, and for the third year in a row the uTest team will be aboard the ever-popular RVIP Lounge. However, we’ve got some unique plans in store:

This year we will be cruising around Austin in an Applause themed RVIP Lounge. The Applause RVIP Lounge will feature the usual karaoke and fun, but also a chance to check out your company’s Applause score and win some big giveaways:

Aboard the RVIP we’ll be giving away t-shirts and hoodies… and there’s an extra bonus that comes along with your new swag. Saturday-Tuesday (times to be announced) if you’re spotted walking around South by Southwest in your new Applause gear you could win an Android Nexus 7 tablet.

More of an Apple fan? We’ve got you covered. The top Applause scores of the five day Interactive Festival will be entered into a random drawing to win an iPod Touch, an iPad Mini or an iPad 4!

So if you want to win some free gadgets and gear, sing karaoke, listen to our PR Manager Nick Lorenzen burst out in a very bold rendition of Neil Diamond or “Call Me Maybe”, ride in style to SXSW’s hottest events – or all the above – be sure to follow @Applause and @RVIPLounge for details on our adventures and real-time locations of where you can find us.

See you in Austin, uTest Nation!

Europas 2013: Celebrating the Best Startups with the Best Party

Those who know us here at uTest Nation know how much we enjoy a good party.  More importantly, we also love supporting innovative communities and celebrating the important work of burgeoning thought leaders.

Next week, in Berlin, those two interests will come together in what is sure to be an amazing event. Along with our good friends at Blonde 2.0, we’ll be sponsoring the after-party at the 2013 Europa Awards.  A celebration of some of the best early stage enterprises in the region, the Europas have quickly become a must-attend event in Europe’s tech community.

The event will bring together some of the world’s top tech influencers from TechCrunch writer and CrunchFund Investor MG Siegler, to YouTube founder Jawed Karim and so many more.

As for our after-party?  Well, that’s where we expect the real networking to happen as participants, attendees and media all get together for what will certainly be a fun night. In fact, I spoke with Blonde 2.0’s illustrious leader Ayelet Noff  the other day, and she assured me that the party “is going to be absolutely amazing!”

The Europas have created so much buzz, that tickets have already sold out. However if you’re (literally) late to the party, you can still add yourself to the wait list.

To those attending – and to the ever-growing EMEA tech community – we’re thrilled to help you enjoy the celebration of your accomplishments! A tip of the hat in advance to all of you from everyone here in uTest Nation. See you in Berlin!