“Crowdsourced testing helps software companies launch products quicker.” – Praveen Singh, Founder & CEO, 99Tests

99 Tests FounderDo you work for a large or mid-sized software corporation in a technical role? Do you dream of coming up with an innovation designed to revolutionize the domain that you work in? If your answer to the aforementioned questions is a resounding ‘yes’, then you’d definitely want to hear the story of this startup called 99Tests, a software testing platform that harnesses the power of crowdsourcing. YourStory caught up with Praveen Singh, Founder and CEO of 99Tests to know more about this business idea.

If someone asked you to tell them about 99Tests in about three sentences, what would you say?

99Tests is a crowd-sourcing platform to get software products tested in the cloud by top notch testing professionals. Testing in the cloud gives software product owners the ability to scale their testing effort and get on-demand access to a quality team. The benefit is that ahigher quality product can be released in a shorter time frame.

How is 99Tests different from other quality analysis options?

99Test gives software product developers or entrepreneurs the ability to compress long testing cycles to short bursts. The first key advantage is that, a large number of defects can be uncovered in a very short time, enabling a quicker go-to-market timeframe.

The second key advantage is the on-demand access to a large community of quality analysis professionals. Since there is a direct correlation between the number of testers testing a software product and the number of defects that can be uncovered, software entrepreneurs can add a large number of high quality testers to test their product instantly. This is not a viable option otherwise, as it involves hiring more people.

The third key advantage is the pay-for-results model. Unlike outsourcing where people are paid for the number of hours clocked in, the testers at 99 Tests are rewarded based on the results of their testing effort. This gives software product owners the ability to monitor and consume the testing effort in a result-oriented manner.

How did the idea for 99Tests come about?

The idea for 99Tests was arrived at by piecing together multiple trends in the software industry.
The first trend was of crowd-sourcing and how it was transforming many industries. The second
insight was that there is always a power law distribution of work done by individuals in teams, i.e. it follows the 80:20 principle of results and contributions. Thus, 99Tests was designed to reward the tester who contributes the highest to a project and also, to create value to the customer through crowd-sourcing.

Tell us about your background.

I’m a software engineer. I worked as a quality analysis professional for about 7 years at Oracle, WebMethods (which was later acquired by Software AG) and VMLogix (later acquired by Citrix). I’ve also worked with Alex Osterwalder for the book “Business Model Generation” andI’m an active participant in Bangalore-based startup communities such as TiE, NASSCOM & HeadStart.

Let us know about any tie-ups that you have. Is there acceptance for your concept?

99Tests has a tie-up with RIA-RUI society for the BugDeBug Testing Conference in Chennai. As testing partner, we conducted a contest for BugDeBug where around 50 testers signed up and logged over 250 bugs in a week while testing a software product. The winners of the contests were given cash prizes and awards at the conference. It was an extremely well-received event.

99 Tests Founder

Where do you see crowd-sourced testing and 99Tests five years from now?

In five years, crowd-sourced testing and 99Tests ought to grow into a large community of testers, with people building and managing their skills and reputation within the community. Customers would get specialized testing services on demand from the top testing talent globally.

What is 99Tests’ revenue model?

The revenue model is based on platform economics. 99Tests takes a percentage share in the transactions done by the customer when a product is given for testing. Clients can get access to the community in five-day cycles.

As an entrepreneur, what are your joys? What are the challenges?

The joy is in solving new problems using creativity. We really enjoy working on problems for which there are no best practices or standard methods. And getting a disruptive innovation out into the mainstream market is enough of a challenge.

How big is the 99Tests team? What are your plans for the future?

We’re a two-member team. That’d be Avinasha and I. Avinasha is a Ruby on Rails developer and brings in solid product development experience. I take care of the community building, sales, marketing and testing. 99Tests has built a community of over 550 testers in three months since the launch. We have logged more than 1500 bugs and worked with 6 clients. We are planning to grow our community of testers and build on a few business verticals.

We at YourStory wish this startup all the very best. To find out more, check out http://99tests.com/. Also, do let us know about your thoughts on this story. You can write to us at feedback@yourstory.in.

Sriram Mohan | YourStory | 11th February 2011 | Bangalore