Give us the pitch.
QASymphony’s vision is to transform the way global enterprises create quality software. We are the only provider of truly enterprise-level agile testing tools that provide businesses with the visibility and control needed to ensure application quality in fast-paced development environments.
What's the story behind QASymphony?
Our founders Vu Lam and Josh Lieberman run KMS Technology, a services business with a specific focus on offshore software testing and product development. KMS has offices in Atlanta and San Francisco along with a large development team located in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
In 2010, Vu and Josh observed a shift in the market as companies were increasingly moving from the traditional Waterfall development to Agile, which is a more flexible and iterative approach. This shift to Agile forced development teams to work at a more rapid pace than ever before. While the methodology changed, the software tools used by development teams were slow to catch up, especially in the testing area. Many testing teams were becoming the “bottleneck” to the Agile process due to lack of an updated platform for software testing.
Vu and Josh set out to create a modern software testing platform purpose-built for agile development teams that would help them deliver high quality software at a rapid pace. The result was QASymphony which was started by KMS Technology in 2011. A few years later, QASymphony spun off from KMS as a separate entity and raised $2.5 million in Series A funding from BIP Capital.
QASymphony went through a major growth spurt in 2015. We added 120 new customers including Nordstrom, Office Depot, Visa, FICO, Dell and Verizon. Plus, our staff doubled to 70 employees who serve more than 300 customers with 8000 users.
And just this past January, we were able to raise an additional $5 million in Series B funding with Fulcrum Equity Partners as our lead investor.
What Problem are you solving?
In many organizations, the role of the software tester is largely undervalued and misunderstood. The executives see the testing team simply as a cost center, but nothing is further from the truth. In today’s world, almost every company is a software company. Whether you’re an airline, retailer, bank or hospital, software is critical to the way you operate your business. And if something goes wrong with your software, the damage to your company could be catastrophic. For example, how much would Amazon lose if their site went down? The answer: $66,240 per minute. If that doesn’t illustrate the impact of bad software, nothing will.
Executives that take the narrow view of testing as a cost center don’t understand the full impact testing can have on their business. Because it’s not about “software testing,” it’s about “software quality.” It’s about making sure that your software really works for the end users. It’s about making sure your software doesn’t go live with major defects that could interrupt your business.
Software quality is no easy task. Today, over 90% of companies are practicing Agile development, which means they’re working and releasing software at a faster pace than ever before. This move to Agile has created some significant challenges for software testers who need to balance speed with quality. So, how do you move at an Agile pace and at the same time ensure that the software doesn’t have critical defects? One key factor is making sure that you have the right tools in place. That’s where QASymphony can help.
How does the Platform work?
Any organization that does extensive software testing has to manage a repository of "test cases". Some companies use software for test case management and others do it manually using spreadsheets. Our qTest platform provides a better way for companies to centralize and manage these test cases. qTest is very robust, easy-to-use, and integrates with the most popular tools used by Agile development teams like Atlassian’s JIRA, VersionOne and CA Agile Central (formally Rally).
In addition to Test Case Management, we also offer qTest eXplorer for teams doing exploratory testing. qTest eXplorer lets a tester record everything he or she is doing during the testing session and automatically creates detailed documentation of any software issues. qTest eXplorer eliminates the need for the tester to do tedious manual documentation, thus saving significant time.
QASymphony’s newest innovation is qTest Scenario, the only JIRA add-on that helps teams optimize and scale Test First methodologies (BDD, TDD, ATDD) across their organization
Is it only compatible with an Agile environment?
No. qTest can really work for any development team. We have a lot of customers who are “Waterfall” or “Agile-fall” (somewhere between Waterfall and Agile). We tend to focus more on agile teams in our messaging because that is where the most development teams are going and we have integrations with the popular agile development tools like JIRA. Nevertheless, our tools work just as well for teams practicing Waterfall
How long can this take to implement?
Most customers get can up-and-running with qTest very quickly. Customers using our cloud service are activated immediately. On-premise installations can be completed within a day. Our customer success managers will help customers with custom fields, notifications and other settings. We can also setup external ALM integrations, plan project schedules and import requirements and test cases. Additionally, there’s extensive training available for administrations and end users as well as ongoing webinars. You can learn more about our Customer Success team at qasymphony.com/blog/qasymphony-customer-success-experience-infographic/.
How much traction have you gotten on this?
We feel like we’ve gotten significant traction in the industry. We currently have over 300 customers and 8000 users including large global enterprises. We’ve also been recognized by Gartner as a “Cool Vendor in Application Development.”
What kinds of companies are you targeting?
In the past year, we’ve seen large global enterprises like Nordstrom, Verizon, Dell, Office Depot, FICO and Visa all adopt QASymphony Test Management software. They choose QASymphony because our solutions are feature-rich, easy-to-use and integrated with the most popular tools used by leading agile development teams.
Once companies start using QASymphony, they quickly see the benefits. In fact, our churn in 2015 was below 1%.
Can you tell a success story of a company who has implemented your platform?
American Equity became a QASymphony customer in 2015. Our qTest solutions have made a significant impact on the QA team. Prior to using qTest, they had a very manual and labor intensive approach to testing and documentation, primarily using Microsoft Word documents. It would take an extremely long time for testers to locate the information they needed. This was a big problem because they had a comprehensive testing process that needs to be completed in a short amount of time. They needed to become more efficient.
According to Dennis Young, Assistant VP of QA at American Equity, “It (qTest) has improved our re-usability of test cases. We’ve seen a large reduction in tester errors and we now have history on our defects. We can see where the problems are.”
Dennis has also been pleased with results using qTest eXplorer. “We didn’t have a baseline set of tests so we used eXplorer to create the test cases,” says Dennis. “It has helped us significantly reduce our construction time for the test cases. We’ve saved hundreds of hours documenting test cases and our business analysts are using eXplorer to create documentation for end users.”
Who are your founders and what is their background?
QASymphony was founded by Vu Lam and Josh Lieberman. Vu and Josh have extensive experience in offshore software development and testing. They founded Paragon Solutions, a U.S. based technology consulting company with international development centers in Bangalore, India, and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Paragon was later acquired by CSC. After the sale, they founded another services company - KMS Technology. QASymphony was created under the KMS umbrella and later spun off into a separate company.
Vu was born in Vietnam and immigrated to the US as a young boy. You can read about his amazing story in the New York times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/09/jobs/vu-lam-of-kms-technology-left-vietnam-and-returned.html?_r=0
QASymphony raised some funding earlier this year. What are you planning to put that towards?
We were very excited to raise a $5 million Series B. We plan to use this money make strategic investments in sales, marketing and technology to help accelerate our growth.
What's the next step for your company?
We have a very exciting product roadmap for the second half of 2016. We are overhauling our reporting to create an entirely new analytics platform that we are calling “qTest Insights 2.0”. This tool will provide actionable business intelligence for testing teams, which is a big unmet need in the market.
We also have an innovative new test management solution coming out later this year that is built for the most progressive agile testing teams that are releasing software at a rapid pace (daily or weekly). We think this solution could really be a game-changer for agile testers.
What was the turning point for your company?
They key turning point for QASymphony was when it was separated from KMS Technology. That increased the focus it needed to be successful on its own.
Have your had past successes or failures with a previous company?
I have had my fair share of failures and success at previous jobs. One big success was at ChoicePoint which was a public company. We acquired a $40 million software company and grew it to $65 million in three years. Then we sold it for two times what we paid for it. That was a big win. Also, When I was at IBBS, a private equity backed company, we grew it from $17 million to $37 million during a very challenging economic period. I’m very proud of those accomplishments.
Before QASymphony, I was at Digistrive, an ecommerce company that focused on “flash sales” and “daily deals”. We raised $5 million and then the market for fell apart. We ended up selling the company for about $5 million.
What have you learned from them that you're taking with you to this venture?
1. A strong/healthy growing market is extremely important to the success of the business. That's one of the reasons I chose QASymphony. Agile development is booming and agile teams need agile tools.
2. Hire “A” players that fit the culture. In my first year at QASymphony, I focused on building an outstanding leadership team. That has been the key to our success.