“And the winner is TestingAgents.com.” This is how the startup tournament 3Challenge, organised by the Bulgarian entrepreneurship club Start It Smart came to a close on 21 September in Studio 5, Sofia. The six-month-long startup challenge was divided into three stages – Idea, Seed and Grow, each three months apart, giving participants a chance to show how they evolve from just an idea to a sustainable and working business.
It all started six months ago
Back in March, inventures.eu followed the beginning of the fourth edition of the 3Challenge and introduced you to the nine winners of the Idea stage selected to go forward to the Seed competition. (Refresh your memory here.) From there, three finalists were selected for the Grow event: E-law, a society-engaged website for people in need of legal help and lawyers; Social365, a corporate intranet social platform that aims to make internal communication systems better-suited to young employees; and TestingAgents.com, an online platform which performs testing with real users for websites, software or online games.
The winner of the 3Challenge benefits from nine months of accounting services by Saldo.bg, participation in The Business Institute’s entrepreneurship courses, a team-desk discount by betahaus Sofia, six months of access to Start It Smart’s entrepreneurship library and a monetary prize of 1000 BGN (510 euro) from ERP. No surprise the team from TestingAgents.com is so excited.
Maria Eneva, CEO of the winning startup, talked about the Start it Smart tournament to inventures.eu. “3Challenge was a great experience for us. We met many like-minded people and great entrepreneurs. The fact that it was a challenge helped us work very hard during these past six months… We proved to ourselves that we can create a profitable business, which attracts new clients and attention in just half a year.”
On the financial side
For the time being, TestingAgents.com is self-funded. “We’ve been trying to grow organically so far,” said Eneva. “We offer online usability tests and usability reports to our clients in exchange for pre-payment. This is how we finance our operations.” To date, the startup has had 17 clients. “We have reached our breakeven point and continue making revenues every month. Since we are self-funded, we invest large part of the revenues back in our business in order to expand our tester’s database, improve our software and expand our service line.”
The start of a startup
TestingAgents.com offers online usability tests to businesses with online exposure. They test web-based applications, software and games with real users, whose reactions to the software is recorded, including screen records, mouse movement and even what the user says as he’s surfing a client’s website. TestingAgents.com then delivers this information, along with a usability report outlining the errors and recommendations for improvements.
The startup was founded in October 2012 in Bulgaria, with the name of TestAgenti, which became TestingAgents.com in June 2013 with the expansion to English- and German-speaking countries. The team includes CEO and founder Maria Eneva, who is developing the business strategy of the company. Evgeni Minchev is the customer relationship guy, and tech guru Plamen Arnaudov develops the TestingAgents’ software and maintains their database.
Looking to expand
Next up for the startup is attracting more clients and extending the service offering. “We are working very hard on expanding our business in Bulgaria as well as abroad,” said Eneva. The team is also looking forward to launching an extension to their platform, which can perform usability tests on mobile devices.
Let’s see how far the 3Challenge experience will take them!