Applause (formerly uTest) announces itself in big way by acquiring German testing leader


Last fall, Framingham-based application and software testing company uTest announced that it would be rebranding as Applause in 2014. Today, the company made the change official, and, for good measure, revealed that it has acquired German crowd-testing company Testhub.

Reporting that it has seen its four-year revenues grow by more than 4,000 percent, and, with a huge round of recent funding from Goldman Sachs, Applause is one of the hottest tech companies in the area. So why the rebrand?

Basically, the company is putting more of a focus on a wide range of quality assurance tools — not just testing alone — for Web apps, mobile apps, and even wearables apps.

“It started with an expansion of our vision for the apps market around the notion that it’s not just about testing,” explained Matt Johnston, the chief marketing and strategy officer for Applause. “It is about an integrated view, a 360 degree view of app quality.”

Applause combines “in-the-wild” testing services, software tools, and analytics, for companies like Google, Amazon, Box, and RunKeeper, in a singular offering that fulfills more than just the quality assurance capabilities that made uTest a success. As Johnston said, the new products have more for developers, dev ops, and product managers.

uTest will remain as a brand under parent company Applause and will focus on the community of professional testers. The site will serve as a hub for software testing, with features such as reviews of testing tools, educational courses, and training programs. Johnston said that Applause envisions uTest becoming “the LinkedIn for testing professionals.”

As far as the acquisition is concerned, Johnston said that Testhub is the top crowd-testing company in Germany, with a huge presence in Central Europe.

As part of the deal, Berlin-based Testhub will become the headquarters for what is being called Applause EU.

The exact terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Applause said that it is was a multi-million ‘euro’ (not dollar) deal that is a combination of cash and equity.

Applause has more than 160 employees working out of its Framingham headquarters and its offices in San Francisco, New York, Seattle, and now Berlin. In January, Applause received a $43 million Series E round of funding from Goldman Sachs, bringing the company’s total funding to date to more than $80 million.

The rebranding signals a bit of coming-of-age for the company founded by Doron Reuveni in 2008. With the acquisition of Testhub, Applause gains a bigger presence in Europe, something many will look at a sign of some pretty audacious aspirations for the company.

With a ton of funding, impressive growth numbers, and international expansion, Applause is one of the hottest companies in Boston right now; it’s no surprise that it is being mentioned more and more as a potential IPO candidate.

While Matt Johnston said that whether or not Applause goes public at some point in the next 18 to 24 months depends somewhat on the market and what the IPO window looks like, the true indicator of what happens next for Applause will be how well the company can execute its new, expanded vision.

Dennis Keohane was a Senior Staff Writer for BetaBoston.
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