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Startup Metamorphosis: The Story of Bugsee

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We’ve all heard over and over again that “Startups are hard,” but it’s a hollow statement that just bounces off until you really experience it yourself. You have to feel it viscerally in order for it to really sink in. That very experience however, makes startup success that much more gratifying. The story of Bugsee is a very unique one in my experience as an investor and one that I figured needs to be highlighted and shared.

You see, Bugsee wasn’t born as what it is today. Bugsee started its life in a very different form. Back then, it was called Dishero. Dishero was going to try and take on something that probably hadn’t changed in centuries. It was going to change the paper menu in the restaurant. The question they asked was: “When all of us today walk into a restaurant with a high resolution device, why is it that we still pick what we want to eat based on a paper menu? What if, the menu could be personalized to your own dietary restrictions/preferences and be made smarter?”

I’m not going to dive into whether that was a good idea or not. Alex Fishman, the co-founder and CEO of Dishero, has an amazing series of blog posts on how that story played out, which I’ll incorporate by reference for anyone who’s interested in the details:

My Cofounder Said: “I love what we’re doing” And We Shut Down Our Startup
A Post About Post-Post-Mortem
Part 3: The Deciding Deep Dive

Long story short, the co-founders of Dishero concluded that no matter what knobs they turned, their business simply wasn’t going to scale enough to become an interesting business — not for the founders, and not for the investors. So they pro-actively shut down the company and did so in as graceful a manner as possible (Alex Fishman has another great blog post on this process at How to Shut Down a Startup in 36 Hours).

After shuttering Dishero, Alex Fishman and Dmitry (Dima) Fink had to figure out what they’re going to do next. They had conducted themselves in an impeccable manner in both arriving at the decision to shut down the company and in going through that process. Therefore, when they came to me to ask what they should do with the remaining capital, I told them that I had invested in the company because of them, and they should take some time to figure out what they would want to do next. Once they figure that out, it’s highly likely that I would want to continue to be an investor in their next adventure.

Alex and Dima found themselves in the not so common situation of where they have a founding team, investors, cash in the bank, but they have to hunt for an idea on what to work on next. Finding the next idea for a qualified team of founders, who know they want to work together, have investors who are ready, willing, and able to back them is a lot harder than you may think. I’ve been through this process with at least 3 teams to date, and finding an idea that an amazing founding team can be passionate about is a non-trivial challenge.

To their credit Alex and Dima went through the process methodically, diligently and with a high degree of introspection (the latter is perhaps the hardest). After spending about 6 months in a cocoon-like state they arrived in what was the idea behind Bugsee.

By this point everyone in the tech industry has heard and believes Marc Andreessen’s quip that “Software Is Eating The World.” Alex and Dima reasoned that if software is eating the world, then building software needs to become better. What’s the worst part about building software? Finding, reproducing, and resolving bugs. They had experienced this pain first hand when building Dishero’s app and platform, and felt that they could do a much much better job than anything else out there. And they did.
Bugsee is already recognized by Crashprobe as the best crash reporting service for iOS by far, beating out crash reporting by Apple, New Relic, Crittercism, Crashlytics (was part of Twitter, but was recently sold to Google), and HockeyApp (now part of Microsoft). In fact, I was a little surprised when I learned that Crashprobe is run by HockeyApp.

 

(Screenshot from http://www.crashprobe.com/ios/ taken on Tuesday, January 24th, 2017 at 9:39:51 PT)

I’ve long believed that for a startup they should first do just one thing, and do it well. Kudos to team Bugsee for being the best crash reporting service for iOS. And this is before all the additional features that Bugsee has added including full code and network stack traces, and video recordings of the events leading up to the crash/bug.

After launching quietly, constantly improving their product offering, Bugsee has added over 1,000 customers (counting teams, not individual developers) who are actively using their product. Here’s a quick overview of what Bugsee can do:

Today Bugsee is officially launching on both iOS and Android, with their mission to make finding and fixing software bugs easy and efficient for mobile app developers. Also check them out on ProductHunt.

Back to the story — I believe that this completes the Startup Metamorphosis from Dishero to Bugsee. Finding the right problem to solve, and solving it well are are integral part of the startup story and I’m pleased to see Alex Fishman and Dmitry Fink navigate this journey successfully. Congrats Alex and Dima!

You can follow me on Twitter at @ManuKumar, and for all things K9 related at @K9Ventures. K9 Ventures is also on Facebook.