When you’re building a startup, there are good news days and bad news days. Sometimes the good news comes in the form of a killer ad campaign or winning a new customer or a glowing article in the New York Times. And if you’re really focused and fortunate, sometimes the good news comes in the form of a $13 million dollar influx of cash from one of the hottest VCs in the Valley, which dramatically increases the valuation of your company.
In the past two years, we’ve had more than our share of good news. And today, we’re announcing that we’ve closed a $13MM C round. This round was led by Scale Ventures, and all our earlier investors participated fully — including Longworth Partners, Egan-Managed Capital and Mesco Ltd.
This is one of the largest-ever investments made in a crowdsourcing company, which re-affirms what our customers already know: uTest’s in-the-wild testing helps them launch apps that their users love. In all, uTest has now raised $20MM across three rounds since late 2007.
Use of Money: So what are we going to do with this pile of money that our wise and wonderful investors have entrusted us with? Well, we initially considered a number of options, including:
- Giving free iPads to our top 26,000 testers… forget it guys, it ain’t gonna happen!
- Purchasing four Superbowl ads @ $3MM per… nah, not our style
- Running one Bug Battle per week for the next 62 1/2 years… interesting, but doesn’t seem quite right
- Splurging for fancier office signage than what we have today… it’d make the Boston winter more pleasant for our employees, but meh
- Two words: uTest blimp… nope, we’re scared of heights. And, oh, the humanity
Actual Use of Money: In the past 18 months, uTest has seen astounding growth and adoption by customers ranging from startups to enterprises to universities. We’ve seen massive growth in mobile app testing, as well as in the social, gaming and retail industries. So while the aforementioned investments sound fun, what we’re really planning to do is dramatically increase our investments in:
- Expanding our newly launched usability testing & load testing services
- Moving into new service categories that help companies launch great apps
- Turning our testing platform & APIs into the industry standard for managing internal & external testing teams
- Engaging our community of 30,000 professional testers
- Growing mind share & market share of our in-the-wild testing services
A Word of Thanks: So much has changed since our August 2008 launch. We’ve expanded into mobile app testing (now our fastest growing category); we’ve added load testing and usability testing; we’ve added 20,000+ new testers; we’ve acquired hundreds of customers and run thousands of test cycles. Well, none of that would have been possible without a few key groups:
- Our employees who are fanatical in their belief in our vision and relentless in their execution
- Our investors who offer sage advice, steady guidance, financial resources and the freedom to learn and grow
- Our customers who, like us, believe that in-the-wild testing compliments in-the-lab testing to create apps that users love
- Our testers who are passionate about testing, about uTest, and about helping to improve app quality
A Bonus Gift for Entrepreneurs: This is a tough market for entrepreneurs to raise money and build a business. Obviously, this has been an area of focus for us over the past few months, and we were fortunate to get so much interest from the VC community that we had multiple options to choose from. So we thought it would be cool and useful to share all that we have learned.
Thus, we’ll be writing an in-depth post on the process of raising VC funding in the current market. And we’re going to answer any questions that come from entrepreneurs, angels, journalists or others.
So ask away… no holds barred. What do you want to know about the process of finding, pitching and evaluating VCs? Fire your questions our way by commenting on this post, emailing us, or dropping us a tweet @uTest. We’ll gather the questions and hook our top execs up to a lie detector machine and force them to answer!