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Inc. Magazine named uTest, a software testing company that makes use of crowdsourcing, the second-fastest growing private IT company in the U.S. uTest grew by over 8200% percent over the last three years, making it the 16th fastest growing private company in the U.S. overall, according to the magazine’s annual ranking.
The news comes days after uTest announced the seven-figure acquisition of the Polish mobile apps tools company Apphance.
uTest CMO Matt Johnston told Crowdsourcing.org that making Inc. Magazine’s list was very encouraging, because “it’s not just about how hot are you this month, or this quarter, or this year; it takes into account multiple years, which is the majority of uTest’s life span thus far.”
uTest has a 60,000-strong community of users across 190 countries who test software applications in real-world settings (which the company calls “in-the-wild” testing). With software applications being released at an enormous pace on mobile devices, desktops, and online, companies strive hard to ensure that end users have a pleasant experience interacting with the software, whether they are in Jacksonville or Jakarta.
This means hours of testing for everything from bugs and crashes to security and performance glitches. By sourcing the work to the crowd over the internet, uTest aims to cut down on the costs and time it takes to bring an application to the market.
uTests’s recent acquisition of Apphance, which helps streamline the bug reporting process, worried some community members who perceived the purchase as a move away from the crowd in favor of tools. Johnston, however, says Apphance will mesh well with the company's community of testers.
“We went out and found a toolset that doesn’t replace or diminish the crowd in any way, shape or form. It actually enhances it,” he explained. “We think that Apphance is an infinitely more powerful tool when combined with our community of 60,000-plus testers. Even though companies can use Apphance and not be a uTest customer, we do think it’s one of those cases where one plus one equals three.”
Johnston says the decision to acquire Apphance was purely a strategic one. In the past 12 months, uTest’s mobile app testing service grew fivefold, making it the fastest growing and the biggest segment of the company’s business.
“It makes sense to double down when you’re getting that kind of traction,” Johnston said.
Although Johnston kept mum about the other projects uTest is currently looking into, he did single out community management as one of the areas the company is looking to drastically change in the coming months as the number of testers expands.
“We’re getting ready to rip open the playbook,” Johnston said. “We’re not going to sit idly by and do more of the same, and adding more and more community management headcount, and keep trying to do things 10 percent better quarter over quarter. We’re getting to a place where we’re recruiting about 1,500 testers every month, so the numbers just keep getting bigger and bigger.”
One of the things that excites Johnston most about uTest being named as one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. is the validation it brings not only to the company itself, but the crowdsourcing process in general.
“I think it’s a validation of how far you can scale with a crowdsourcing model,” he said. “Everyone looks at crowdsourcing and says, ‘It’s such a neat idea for this space or that space,’ but we still haven’t seen those breakout successes yet. We haven’t seen the big IPOs, the massive nine-figure acquisitions. So it’s one more milestone, one step closer to those sorts of things.”