May 5, 2014

uTest, now Applause, sets up shop in Europe

The new logo for Framingham-based Applause, formerly known as uTest.

Mobile applications testing provider uTest has officially changed its name, and announced it will acquire a German firm that will serve as European headquarters for the company now known as Applause.

In a statement today, the renamed company said Applause is expanding its mission beyond "in the wild," or "real world" testing for web, desktop and mobile applications to include mobile analytics, an application-quality "dashboard" and a free tool that enables crash-and-bug reporting, as well as user feedback on IOS, Android and Windows Phone applications.

"Web, mobile and wearable applications – and the quality of these digital experiences – are the gateway to brands and businesses. This new ideal of 360-degree app quality is the best way for companies to differentiate themselves, and win in the highly competitive apps economy," CEO Doron Reuveni said in a statement.

"Multi-million-dollar" acquisition brings Applause to Europe

Meanwhile, the acquisition of Testhub brings Applause into the global market, the company said. The acquisition, which Applause said is in the "multi-million-dollar" range, is a combination of cash and equity. Also, as part of the acquisition, Berlin Technologie Holding, a German investment firm, will become a strategic investor in Applause's European operations, which will be named Applause EU.

In the next month, Testhub, a "crowd testing" company, will transition to Applause EU and make additional hires in several key markets, Applause said. In crowd testing, prototype software and products are sent to broad groups of people for testing rather than having testing performed internally, according to the website WhatIs.com.

"We're very proud of what Testhub has achieved, and joining forces with (Applause) is a great scenario and a phenomenal opportunity to combine global reach with European expertise" Testhub CEO Jan Wolter added in the Applause statement. "We believe in building long-term relationships with our customers to help them launch consistently high-quality apps."

Applause said the decision to acquire Testhub came after several months of discussions, and only after all the EU crowd-testing players had been researched and evaluated.

"Testhub stood out because they were building the right way – by focusing on their customers and employees. They're closely aligned with the values and philosophy that we held in building uTest, and carry forward into Applause," Applause Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer Matt Johnston said. "The Testhub team truly understands the European market."

CMO: Acquisition best way to enter EU

Johnston said in an interview Monday afternoon that the Testhub acquisition happened to coincide with the company's planned relaunch, which has been slated for April or May for several months.

Applause had been investigating breaking into the European market for some time, and the company determined it that doing it through an acquisition would be the best route, according to Johnston.

A number of European startups had emulated Applause's model, but Testhub exceeded all others, and even exceeded Applause in some areas, according to Johnston. In particular, the company has produced shorter turnaround times on usability projects, Johnston said.

"They're all kind of following our tail lights or swinging in our wake, but Testhub was doing it better," Johnston said.

Asked whether Testhub was threatened Applause as it looked to enter the European market, Johnston said Applause's "financial war chest" would have allowed the company to enter Europe on its own.

"This was the fastest, most effective way to make a formal entrance into the European Union market," Johnston said.

Read more:

Business Leaders of the Year 2014: Doron Reuveni

Cashing in on mobile apps: Local companies prosper as demand soars

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