As you probably heard, uTest closed a $13MM C Round last week. We were pretty stoked and, in our post-celebration bliss, we put out an open call for questions about the process of fundraising. Well, our friends, readers and followers did not disappoint. Check out the below list of questions and the off-the-cuff responses from our CEO and co-founder, Doron Reuveni (@doronr).
Is this the first company you’ve started, and what led you to launch your own startup?
DR: My co-founder and I really came from two different spaces. He came from more of a testing and QA background, while I came from more of a business and engineering background. But we both felt the same pain: We would spend so much time and money on improving the quality of software with the standard processes and tools, yet there would still be lots issues found by the customer. Eventually, we asked ourselves, “What if we could find a way to test software under live conditions, on-demand?” That’s really how uTest came about. And yes, uTest is the first company I started.
What was the a-ha moment that triggered the idea behind uTest?
DR: 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, outsourcing, automation, documentation – but unexpected bugs and defects still emerged when we put it 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. That really got everything started.
What have been three major obstacles that you had to overcome as an entrepreneur?
DR: I would say the number one challenge – because I don’t consider them to be obstacles – was to sell the original idea to potential investors. At the time we started looking for our first round of funding, all I had was a PowerPoint presentation and a smile. For that first round, we didn’t really have any prototypes – and we certainly didn’t have any revenue – so it was very much a challenge to talk with some of these potential VCs about the theory of crowdsourcing and how it fit the software testing space.
I would say the second biggest challenge has been recruitment, which is of course an ongoing challenge. At the end of the day, it’s really the people that make the difference – not the product or the technology or the marketing – so we made it a priority to recruit and retain high-level talent and to develop a company “culture.” These things are a lot more difficult than they sound, especially when you are expanding internationally.
The third major challenge we had to overcome was managing revenue and customers with a maturing platform. We made it a goal to get the platform to market quickly, and so we already had a few beta customers by the time we launched. We didn’t really have time to refine a lot if it before our customers got to use it. We were getting tremendous amount of feedback almost instantly, but this puts a lot of pressure on you to improve the product at a pace you can’t really keep up with at first.
Once you starting add customers and revenue to the equation – especially for a technology startup – it completely changes the dynamic.