Using a mobile app should be like a drive in a Ferrari: fast, responsive, and no crashes.
In reality, many mobile applications have high crash rates and poor response times. Mobile app developers and operations teams are overwhelmed by the complexity of supporting every combination of operating system, mobile carrier, and underlying hardware platform.
Two years ago, when I first started learning about mobile app development, I immediately looked for a third-party APM (application performance monitoring) vendor. I was coming from a Ruby on Rails world where every server app is instrumented to monitor latency and exception. The case for deploying mobile APM is even stronger given that the developer has no access to the device on which the application runs and, consequently, no visibility into the entire environment in which the application exists.
I was surprised to find that, while there were multiple startups offering crash reporting for mobile applications, there wan’t a focused, mobile-first APM offering. By mid-2013, though, it became clear that Crittercism had identified the broad need to support mobile development teams with detailed run-time analytics and was expanding its offering dramatically.
I’ve written earlier about the characteristics ScaleVP looks for when investing in developer-oriented SaaS companies. It was immediately clear that mobile APM is a perfect candidate for an outsourced service:
- it is a broad horizontal market because every mobile app with any pretension to quality needs visibility into its performance;
- performance monitoring is unlikely to be a point of strategic differentiation for any mobile development team;
- the imperative for high-quality mobile applications makes performance monitoring mission-critical;
- the functionality can be cleanly abstracted;
- and, really, what developer wants to write that piece of the code themselves.
Aside from an attractive market, the other half of the venture equation is a stellar team ready to capitalize on the early traction. The more I got to know the executive team at Crittercism, the more clear it was that Andrew, the CEO, had built a solid team with deep bench strength.
Many companies hit a quarter or two air pocket between identifying product-market fit and building an organization that can scale to $100M in revenue; this was not the case at Crittercism. Everyone had a clear vision for what they were planning to accomplish over the next two years. We always love to invest in companies with a strong tailwind and a clear plan for deploying new capital to maintain rapid growth.
We’re excited to be joining the team as Crittercism expands internationally, scales up operations, and continues to invest in its category-leading mobile APM service. Our belief is that over time all quality mobile apps will use Crittercism. Apps without performance monitoring are like Formula 1 race cars without instrumentation and pit crew. They either crash and burn or finish last.