This YourNest-backed firm is betting on emerging opportunities in software testing

This YourNest-backed firm is betting on emerging opportunities in software testing

YourNest-backed Smart Software Testing Solutions, wants to build next-generation software testing platforms for new age systems. The company acquired pCloudy, a mobile app testing firm, as a first step to grow rapidly into emerging areas.

Pankaj Goel, CEO & Co-Founder, Smart Software Testing Solutions

The world of software development is moving towards agile development. In simple terms, it means that in a day, three product releases are possible as against one in three months. But this also means that not only development and operations, but testing also needs to keep pace with the growth. Since manual testing cannot keep pace with this ‘shift-left’ approach, as it is called in development terms (testing happening parallely along with development, instead of it beginning a separate task at the end of the software development lifecycle), there arose a need for more focused solutions.

This became a starting point for IIT – Varanasi alumni and colleagues, Avinash Tiwari and Pankaj Goel. Having worked in the test automation space from the beginning, and Goel being one of the first people to be certified in test automation in India, they could sense that there was room for a business to grow here.

The first step down this road led them to Lalith Jain, who was running his own venture, CresTech.  While CresTech uses existing software testing tools and acts as a service provider, the founding duo quickly realized that this alone was not enough and that they required more focused solutions. In 2012, they founded Smart Software Testing Solutions (an extension of CresTech), which uses Opkey, a SaaS-based test automation tool, to help non-technical businesses automate their processes. Six years hence, the company has cracked deals with 25 Fortune 500 companies and sold 100 licenses. “We learnt from our mistakes but we grew and were eventually listed as one among NASSCOM Emerge 50 Companies,” adds Goel.

In fact, as a part of its recent expansion plans, it acquired Bengaluru-based pCloudy, and raised US $1 million (around Rs. 6.8 crore) in a pre-Series A round from YourNest Angel Fund. “Although we were a Noida-based company with offices in Bengaluru, we found it challenging to evolve at the pace the industry was growing. Hence, the move to acquire the company,” explains Goel. pCloudy is targeted at the accelerated mobile application software space, and has 250 active customers, with 10,000 enterprises using it in SaaS mode.

With 35 engineers and 10 support team members on board, the entrepreneurs made a conscious decision to build a lean sales team. “We believe in digital selling and we’ve benefited from it,” adds the co-founder. Instead, Smart Software lays emphasis on research and development and has a dedicated team of 5 employees who enable the company to stay ahead of the curve. A combination of this and a 30 percent spend on R&D has led them to get provisional patents for five of their products.


The aim is to grow pCloudy into an end-to-end app testing solution, for which we plan to acquire more organizations with relevant solutions in the pre-revenue stage


Market Expansion & Way Forward

Goel divides his target market into two segments; regulated and non-regulated. Each has different needs, and pCloudy caters more to the non-regulated market, with high potential in the U.S. and the Asia Pacific region. That being said, its vision in the next three years is to become one of the top players in both markets. To do this, Smart Software has to gain around 10 per cent to 15 per cent of the market share, and it’s trying to achieve this through several means. The first is, investing heavily in research in the AI and robotics space to develop DIY solutions, where the tools will be delivered over cloud and the customers can test on their own. Second is, crowd testing for providing ventures with access to real testers. And third, is venturing into the DFU (Done-For-You) segment, where the testing will be done by pCloudy. To elaborate further, this is an AI-based solution that was released a few months ago, and promises good growth for the company. “The aim is to grow pCloudy into an end-to-end app testing solution, for which we plan to acquire more organizations with relevant solutions in the pre-revenue stage,” shares Goel. But, this will happen only once the company raises a Series A funding (the entrepreneur plans to raise US $7 to US $10 million). “We may need the funding by third quarter of next year but we plan to proceed cautiously because we want to be efficient before becoming dependent,” he adds, and signs off.


Snapshot

Smart Software Testing Solutions

Founders: Lalith Jain, Pankaj Goel, Avinash Tiwari

Focus: End-to-end test automation solutions

Year: 2012

Investors: YourNest Angel Fund


Concept in Brief

Lalith Jain’s Crestech was catering to the testing needs of software development firms. He, along with Pankaj Goel and Avinash Tiwari, who were also part of the team and had experience in test automation, realized that the existing tools were not able to meet the evolving needs of agile development and hence started Smart Software Testing Solutions in 2012. They developed Opkey and targeted it at non-technical business users who were looking to automate using packaged solutions. This niche focus gave them good traction. Subsequently, seeing the growth in the mobile app development space, the company acquired pCloudy, a solution that was in its pre-revenue stage. It now aims to develop pCloudy into an end-to-end testing solution and will take the acquisition route to acquire more such companies in this space. Already funded by YourNest Angel Fund, it aims to raise a Series A round to fund its acquisition and expansion plans. It currently has a team of around 45 members and invests heavily in R&D to stay ahead of the curve.

Meera Srikant has been working with publishers and publications since 1993, writing and editing articles, features and stories across topics. She also blogs and writes poems, novels and short stories during leisure. Writing for The Smart CEO since 2010, she is also a classical dancer.