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Rainforest Raises $25M for Crowdsourced Software Quality Testing

Startup Rainforest QA has raised $25 million in Series B funding for its on-demand, crowdsourced software quality assurance service, bringing the total funding to $41.2 million.

Rainforest works like Uber, TaskRabbit and other crowdsourcing services. Rainforest has tens of thousands of software quality assurance testers on contract. When a software development team needs QA, the developers sign in with Rainforest, submit the code, and the Rainforest testers put the software through its paces, reporting bugs, usability issues and other problems.

"At a high level, what we do is basically we give on-demand QA to our customers," Fred Stevens-Smith, Rainforest CEO and co-founder, tells Enterprise Cloud News. "It's a very similar model to an AWS. We have a giant cloud of QA people who are testing all day and every day. Customers tap into the cloud to get a hundred or a thousand or five thousand QA people swarming all over their software."

As enterprise software goes from employee-facing to customer-facing, the stakes are higher, because software glitches can mean a lost sale. Meanwhile users have had their expectations for user experiences raised by the likes of Amazon, Apple, and Slack; they expect software to be easy to use.

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Software organizations are beginning to see the value of quality assurance -- but only just beginning, Stevens-Smith says

QA spending will increase to 40% of IT spend next year, according to a report from CAP Gemini, "highlighting a continued urgent need to find efficiencies," Rainforest said in a statement.

Senior engineering leaders at large companies haven't quite caught up, Stevens-Smith says. "We see surprisingly uninformed attitudes by senior engineering leaders at large companies about how to think about QA," he says. "That's a polite way of saying they don't know what they're talking about."

Senior software engineers labor under the myth that QA "is not a strategic business function," or that the entire process can be automated, Stevens-Smith says.

Organizations often outsource their QA to companies like Wipro and Infosys, which is slow and expensive, Stevens-Smith says.

Meanwhile, development cycles have increased to continuous delivery, which traditional QA can't keep up with.

Rainforest provides an alternative. Organizations can't afford to keep hundreds of QA people on staff, but they do need the throughput of 100 QA people a half-hour a day. Rainforest solves that problem, Stevens-Smith says.

And, like Lyft maintaining a fleet of drivers, Rainforest maintains its own fleet of about 60,000 QA testers, with about 5,000 available at any given point in time, Stevens-Smith says.

Rainforest uses machine learning algorithms to monitor results and testers for accuracy, to keep quality high, the company says.

Rainforest was founded in 2012, with about 100 full-time employees. The company crossed $10 million annual recurring revenue in 2017, and is growing at a rate of 100% year-over-year.

Funding sources for the Series B round include Silicon Valley Bank, Bessemer Venture Partners, Sutter Hill capital, Rincon Ventures and Initialized Capital.

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— Mitch Wagner Follow me on Twitter Visit my LinkedIn profile Visit my blog Follow me on Facebook Editor, Enterprise Cloud News

[email protected] 1/30/2018 | 12:24:45 PM
Re: QA benefits are many
It may be an investment in achieving lower long-term software maintenance costs time will tell how the financials will be impacted. 
kq4ym 1/30/2018 | 9:39:54 AM
Re: QA benefits are many It surely looks like Rainforest is into an interesting business plan, as "QA spending will increase to 40% of IT spend next year," says one report, and their capability to get thousands of folks at one time to test should keep them ahead of other competitors who may want to try the same thing at least for the immediate future anyway.

QA spending will increase to 40% of IT spend next year
[email protected] 1/26/2018 | 6:34:45 PM
QA benefits are many Very surprising when I was a product manager I thought QA was critical.Having a great QA team with intuition saved you from embarrassing bugs and hours of client issues and complaints. Not seeing QA as strategic is short-sighted, investing as they are in the process will certainly yield cleaner code and less buggy software with a better user experience.
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