Digital testing startup Applause has raised a $35 million Series F funding round, the company announced Wednesday. The round was led by Credit Suisse’s investment program Direct Equity Partners and included financing from strategic partner Accenture.
They claim some big name clients, like Amazon, Ralph Lauren, HBO, USA Today, BMW and Concur. The money will go towards launching a new digital research service, as well as expanding its “in-the-wild” testing (i.e., outside the lab environment, by people using a variety of devices from anywhere around the world) and usability feedback services.
“It is testing how and where actual users live, work and play. Applause has a community of more than 250,000 professional testers in more than 200 countries and territories, testing across all platforms, operating systems, devices, carriers and other criteria,” boasted Applause Israel VP and GM Michael Weinberg to Geektime.
“Digital experiences – from web to mobile to IoT to brick and mortar – are the epicenter of competition in many industries, including retail, restaurants, travel, banking, insurance and manufacturing. Late-stage funding from leaders like Credit Suisse and Accenture, enables us to double down on expanding our solutions,” said Applause CEO Doron Reuveni in a press release. “Applause is uniquely positioned as the de facto leader in Digital Experience testing, usability feedback and research.”
The round is atypically smaller than the previous round ($43 million Series E in 2014 when they changed their name from uTest). Weinberg would not say whether or not it Applause is profitable yet or clarify its valuation, but did tell Geektime, “Applause is worth more today than it was at the time of our last funding round in 2014 . . . We have enjoyed 40% year over year top line growth and made five straight Inc 5000 lists of America’s fastest growing private companies.”
Given the gargantuan size of the software testing market and its expected 11% annual growth (much of it in apps), they inevitably have competition from other startups in building global testing networks, though the approaches differ. Canadian-Chilean company Crowdsourced Testing takes a similar approach to Applause, while other apps like TestFlight (acquired by Burstly, which was acquired by Apple) invites volunteers to beta test new apps. However, it doesn’t appear that anyone has created a business like this on quite the scale that Applause claims.
Applause also says the round included follow-on from all its existing investors: Goldman Sachs’ Merchant Banking Division, Longworth Venture Partners, Scale Venture Partners, QuestMark Partners, MassVentures and Mesco. At the moment, they count an estimated 250,000 testers in their global network and say they are always accepting new people. As for full-timers, they say their offices in Israel and elsewhere are also looking for staff.
“Our steep growth has already validated our approach here in Israel,” Weinberg added. “This funding further advances our ability to help Israeli companies launch great digital experiences for users in any country or market around the globe. Applause is the one company positioned to help Israeli companies take their digital visions to the world.”
Applause has over 300 employees. With headquarters in Boston, it maintains offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Berlin, Paris, London and Herzliya, Israel.