It’s no secret in venture land: some of the most successful innovations are born as side projects for internal use. There are many world-famous examples, like 3M’s sticky notes and Google’s Gmail e-mail service. When venture investors look for interesting projects to invest in, a spinoff from an already established and successful company is always something we take an extra good look at.
And thus, when the team behind the fast-growing Sofia-based adtech company AdHash told us that they developed a tool for internal use, and were interested in turning it into an independent startup, we were hooked. Part of the big batch of new investments that we’re closing at Vitosha this year-end, BugLab is a tool that allows website publishers and owners to automate Quality Assurance (QA) testing and provides them with daily checkups of the website’s functionality.
As we sit in BugLab’s fantastic office, in a villa at the foot of Vitosha mountain in the fairytale-like snow-covered Dragalevtsi suburb of Sofia, CEO Yordan Nenov and CTO Damyan Stanchev share horror stories from what they saw on the market during their previous work. “We regularly saw companies massively missing out due to a lack of proper QA testing. One time it was a major e-commerce platform that redesigned their website ahead of Black Friday sales, only to find out two days after launch that the checkout button was covered by another frame. Another time, a media company lost half of its mobile users because their content didn’t show on a popular mobile browser that they skipped to test on”, says Nenov.
The technology behind BugLab’s product allows owners and publishers of websites to implement testing of all the pages and functionalities of a website, with daily monitoring of all the critical functions, and without any code implementation. According to the team, no other purely technical solution exists for this use case. “There are a number of platforms that offer similar services, but when we checked, they implement outsourcing to low-wage countries for semi-automated manual testing”, Nenov explains. “The QA market is saturated with high-level manual work, making sure that complicated enterprise systems and apps work as they should, but websites are looked over”, he continues. “With BugLab, we provide an easy, out-of-the-box solution that relies on a high degree of automation to make sure that the most common website glitches can be tracked and dealt with efficiently at a low cost and without wasting human resources.”
Having completed the spinout from AdHash, with fresh funding, a functioning MVP that is currently being tested with several initial clients, and several new team members joining in January 2024, BugLab is getting ready to hit the market next month. “The clients we’ll be targeting are everywhere around the world, and our prior experience and the team we’ve assembled will allow us to validate and fine-tune the proposition and price point pretty quickly in the next few months”, concludes Nenov. “Our message is simple: BugLab is a like a spell-checker for user experience. We believe there’s is a great market opportunity for that”.