One of the best thing about our job (other than access to the SoftTech wine supply) is meeting — and sometimes investing in — companies who are using cutting edge technology to solve real world problems. While there are many investors who are happy to incubate expensive science projects, we try and keep a strong focus on companies who are applying technology to solve real problems to build actual businesses (call us old fashioned in that regard!) with a direct path to revenue.
Personally, I love investing in products that solve a problem I faced in my past building either a product or business (c.f. LaunchDarkly, GreatHorn, Captain401) and so immediately fell head over heels for the Appdiff concept. Having been on the sharp end of building and managing a technology product, one of the most painful parts of every release cycle was the manual QA that had to be performed at the end of each sprint. Sure, some of it could be automated with Selenium (although these tests seemed to break more often than they worked, and good luck getting it to run well on your mobile apps) but we found that nothing could replace the sharp eyes of a human tester who intimately knew the product and could quickly spot and test the version-to-version changes.
The Appdiff idea is simple enough — upload your app and intelligent bots crawl it, tapping around as a human would (although in a tiny fraction of the time) and inform you of anything that’s slow or broken. The real magic happens as Appdiff examines each new version: it learns what’s a bug versus a designed change and only highlights the stuff that needs fixing. Now your human QA resources can be spent on higher level activities rather than the mundane clicking and swiping they often get stuck with.
Naturally, an idea as elegant as this is incredibly hard to implement well and the team have spent the last few months improving the bots’ brains, hardening the infrastructure and building a remarkably beautiful interface. We invested in January 2016 and Appdiff launched into GA at the end of the year.