Prior to founding LambdaTest, I co founded a company called 360Logica. It was an application testing service provider with clients ranging from fortune 500 enterprises to startups.
Having worked with all types of testing teams I observed that there was no integrated platform for testers to perform testing of all kinds at one place.
Was it a gradual decision or lightbulb moment to start LambdaTest?
There was no centralized testing ecosystem where all testing technologies work in conjunction to give a complete quality assessment of a software application platform that supports on-going shift left testing movement. Something like an Adobe suite for testers.
That is what stuck in my mind and I thought why not put my next efforts in building such a platform. It was not a lightbulb moment but my experience working with enterprises on software quality gradually motivated me to embark on this endeavor. So in 2017, we founded LambdaTest with an aim to build an integrated platform for testers. As a starting point, we tackle one of the most prominent issues testers and developers face, the issue of testing infrastructure management and scalability. We built and deployed an online cloud infrastructure that can be used to perform manual and automated cross browser testing online.
How did you get your first three customers? How did you validate the idea?
We took help from developers and testers that me and my team were connected with to validate the idea. As most of us were testers or in testing projects ourselves, and had a good network of testers,developers, and project managers to get the first feedback and finding the right market fit. These developers and testers really helped us validate the idea and that helped us in making sure that we were putting our efforts in the right direction or not. This process in the end, helped us in getting the first few customers as well. Our first product ambassadors were the ones who helped us polish the product, who were with us since the starting of the journey.
Did you have any experience/expertise in the area?
Yes indeed. As stated earlier, myself and most of our founding team, each had immense experience in working as a tester, managing testing projects, or in the software development process whole. I myself started my career as a specialized exploratory tester and went on to found 360Logica, a 300+ strong software service firm focused on testing. During my time at my earlier endeavors, I worked with all scale of companies including early stage startups all the way to fortune 500 enterprises. .
Have you raised any money? How much?
Yes, till now we have raised a total of $3 million. $1 million pre-series A funding in December 2018 lead by Leo Capital. We raised another round of pre-series A funding in November 2018 lead by Blume venture and in participation with Leo Capital.
Who is your target demographic?
Being a cloud based platform our product serves global demand. As of today we have over 170,000 users from 130+ countries across the globe. Anyone involved in any way in the web development process and owns a website, is our potential user. Our platform is used by all companies of all domains and sizes, and we have paid customers ranging from freelancers and startups all the way to billion dollar enterprises.
How did you fund the idea initially?
I have to admit, being a founder of a successful startup certainly helped me with the investor support for my next business idea! Thanks to Ramakant Sharma (Co-founder LivSpace), Lovleen Bhatia (Co-founder Edureka), Kapil Tyagi (Co-founder Edureka) for trusting me with their generous rounds of investment.
Where did you meet your co-founder/founding team?
I met most of the team during my work at previous organizations. We really connected and shared the passion of solving complex business problems, especially around testing domains, using innovation and teamwork. I had been thinking about building the product for some time before actually starting building so once I got the opportunity to finally work on it, I connected with all the friends in the network I had that I knew could help me out in this. A handful of them joined us permanently, a few of them helped as early seed investors, and quite a lot of them helped us validate the product and then became our early product ambassadors.
Any tips for finding first employees?
This is really an amazing question. Being a startup you always find it challenging to hire your first few employees. You always find yourself thinking that you need people who can resonate with the idea and can perform with limited resources and under pressure situations.
First few employees came from my referrals and the referrals of other co-founders, people who were maybe not the highest experts of the field but were business oriented and had that startup drive to accomplish much in a short amount of time. We roped in people about whom we were absolutely sure that they would be as motivated as us to make it a success.
Did you run any companies prior?
Yes, prior to LambdaTest, I co-founded another company called 360 Logica, one of the leading testing company companies in India. Later the company was sold to Saksoft group in 2017.
What motivated you to start your own business?
After graduating in Bachelors of Technology in 2003, I worked in a couple of companies to get hands-on knowledge on how a business runs. In my experience in working with big enterprise companies, I got to understand that the best challenges in the domain I was interested in can only be found by building something of my own. Building my own company was as much an expression of thirst for challenge, solving complex and more demanding problems as it was about leaving a mark. It was in October 2009 I founded 360-Logica.
What were your family and friends first thoughts on your company?
Both my family and friends were quite supportive in my decision and what I planned to build. In fact quite a few of them became our first seed investors as well. They always motivated me to go one step ahead. My friends in the testing domain helped us in shaping the initial product as the feedback they gave was quite good.
What motivates you when things go wrong? What is the end goal?
The product received an amazing feedback during the beta launch and we made people really excited and they were actually looking forward to using the product for simplifying their day to day testing. This end goal kept me motivated to push a little harder when things went haywire.
There were times where we had to make hard decisions like limiting the number of features in the first release for better stability. Quality is everything! Especially if you're delivering a platform that helps with Quality Assurance for other businesses. You can't afford to turn a blind eye towards the performance of you platform. In the competitive landscape, if you don't deliver a better user experience than your competitors then you're going to have a tough time retaining existing customers & finding the new ones. In fact, we had to completely re-architect the entire product once because we felt that the performance was being deteriorated.
Do you have any advice for someone just starting out?
The only advice I give to anyone starting their entrepreneurial journey is to ask yourself ‘Am I Sure’ and after you get the answer ask ‘Am I sure the product will work and ease the prevailing problems?’
What has driven the most sales?
For us it has to be E-mails, I and Jay (Co-founder) come with extensive experience in product and sales and we had a great network of people who might be interested.
So, we got a lot of our early users via simple emails and demo calls, out of those some eventually became our product ambassadors and referred to the platform in their network. Thanks to our well-wishers who gave us a shout through various social media platforms & communities such as Quora, Hacker News, Product Hunt and more.
What is stopping you being 3x the size you are now?
Testing has always been an undervalued process of the software development life cycle. However as more and more companies are moving towards a shift left testing approach, agile development, and ultimately faster way of shipping software products, we are seeing the importance of testing rise considerably as well. It can be said that the process is little slow as of now, however the growth of this trend is exponential. We are seeing the same curve in our business as well. As more and more companies are realizing how important testing infrastructure is, more and more enterprises are shifting to our platform. It’s only a matter of time.
How do you protect yourself from competition?
We always believe in launching new features faster and in an efficient manner. We have adopted an agile approach with our product launch roadmap and bring new features with better performance and better usability. Our fast turnaround time, and that is why we see a lot of customers from our competitors coming to us.
What are the top 3-5 apps your business could not run without? Why are they essential?
Even though in this cloud age there are alternatives to nearly every application, we can still say that there are a few without which it would be very difficult to conduct business.
- The first of them is of course AWS cloud. AWS is an inseparable part of our process. That may be because they have so many different types of services are inevitably used somewhere or another.
- The next platform is the combination of Jira and Confluence. While I will not say that Jira is the best project management tool out there, we can certainly say that it is one of the most used one. Nearly every team member has used it before someway or another and it has a integration support with nearly all other tools that we use. Because of these qualities there was no friction within the team from the first day itself in using the tool.
- The last is of course LambdaTest. We built this product with full intention of using it ourselves as well. Our whole deployment cycle uses the platform heavily. This not only accelerates our deployment but also gives us the insight on how the platform would be actually used by the end user and what could be done to make that experience better.
What are your favourite books or podcasts?
I personally like the book;
Zero to One by Blake Masters and Peter Thiel
and I also recommend,
- Innovator's Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen.
I like to listen to the podcasts hosted by Joe Colantonio.
What are the next products you’re working on?
Currently, I am not working on any new product however, I am spending a lot of time in coming up with new features on LambdaTest platform. I see all possibilities of becoming profitable in a couple of months as we are currently growing at over 20+ MOM growth.
Are there any releases you can tell us about?
In the immediate future, we are working on a way to ease responsive testing of website and web apps and we would be rolling out a product for beta users very soon. However do checkout our website and subscribe to our newsletter or social media channels to keep yourself updated about the latest releases. We regularly come out with new features or complete full blown products every other month that can ease your development and testing cycles.
Where do you see the company in 5 years? Would you ever sell?
I think in less than 5 years LambdaTest will realize its aim of becoming an integrated platform for all testing needs. Right now there are no thoughts of selling the platform at all. We are still in the early phases of the business and we would be thoroughly enjoying this journey for a few years more. But that does not mean that we are averse to the idea. I have experience with building up and selling a company. As an entrepreneur we have to keep our options open and look for the best way forward. Maybe in the future we can go the IPO route and sell the company to the public.