UTest Acquires Apphance In 7-Figure Deal As Mobile Developer Tools Consolidate

Some consolidation in the area of companies that offer tools to mobile developers, specifically in the area of quality testing — a must-have for developers working in the highly fragmented world of smartphones and tablets. Boston-based uTest has made its first strategic acquisition: Poland-based Apphance, which it is buying from its parent company Polidea in a seven-figure deal, consisting of cash and uTest equity for Polidea.

As part of the deal, uTest is picking up all of Apphance’s intellectual property, as well as 10 engineers who work on it, to add to uTest’s existing team of 100 employees. And it will continue to sell and develop the product — which helps developers test apps for bugs and distribute new versions of those apps. It will from now be marketed as uTest Apphance and will be offered to developers free of charge for the rest of 2012 to help promote it.

uTest will also be using Apphance itself for its own 60,000-strong army of app testers, as well as adding functionality for it to support HTML5, on top of existing support for iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7, Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook.

The deal is both a sign of how mobile app testing services are growing in use and maturity, and how consolidation will inevitably follow as bigger players continue to scale.

“This acquisition is a giant step forward in the growth of uTest,” Doron Reuveni, CEO of uTest, said in a statement. “By adding Apphance to our in-the-wild testing services, we’ve dramatically increased our value to customers and extended our position as an all-in-one testing solution for mobile developers around the world.”

Among the features of Apphance’s platform are the ability for developers to distribute new versions of their app, gather crash reports, obtain bug reports and solicit user feedback. This is done by way of adding Apphance code into a mobile app, which then lets any device running that app in pre-production or production to then get tracked by Apphance’s system.

The two companies have been in communication since 2011, uTest says.

Since then, uTest’s business has grown five-fold, raising $17 million in the process, and “discussions between the two parties evolved, ultimately leading to today’s announcement.” uTest is on track for a run-rate of $40 million this year, the company says.

Customers for uTest include Google, USA Today, Amazon, Virgin, Sony, Box and Trulia, and the company employs 60,000 testers across 190 countries and all mobile platforms, devices, and carriers, as part of uTest’s “real world” approach to making sure that apps work as they should.