A year before in 2011, Georg Hansbauer and Phillip Benkler were brainstorming ideas to start a business with purpose. Georg suggested a “crowdtesting platform”, after realizing many companies were struggling to test their digital products before launch.
This concept turned into a business plan within a week, and Markus Steinhauser was invited to join the Testbirds journey. In the same year, the trio moved into the first Testbirds office in the east of Munich, and just a month later, secured our first customer project with a German retailer through norisk Group after pitching to the e-commerce agency’s managing directors over a meal.
As our first project, there was a lot of improvisation, especially as a working prototype of our platform was still being built. Recruiting testers meant sourcing from our friends and family, while Markus wrote the testers’ instructions document.
The rest, they say, is history.
Or is it?
We look back at this past decade with a quick trip down memory lane.
Testbirds was founded as a GmbH in the summer of 2012, following the successful launch of our renowned Nest platform and receiving the EXIST funding earlier in the year.
Shortly after, we secured our first-ever investment of 1m euros from WALTER Beteiligungen und Immobilien AG, which began accelerating our growth as we onboarded up to five new birds a month.
We flew out for our first-ever company retreat, Birds Fly Out (BFO), to Europapark. The first of many memorable BFOs began with a closed Autobahn extending our journey to over 6 hours through the countryside.
With a solid foundation in place, we started spreading our wings across Europe and even across the pond. We embarked on projects in the Netherlands, UK, and the US, and also started our first franchise in Hungary.
As demand for our crowdtesting services grew, we had a successful second financing round of around 2.1m euros led by Seventure Partners, and included Alex Rinke, Martin Klenk, and Bastian Nominacher, whose company, Celonis, we shared an office with for a couple of years back then.
These were fun times as we had Christmas parties and LAN parties together. Celonis was even part of our first Facebook video!
This was the year we started to truly establish ourselves outside of Germany, with the opening of our first international office in Amsterdam in February. Shortly after, we opened our office in the UK.
We crossed the 100,000 crowdtesters mark in the summer of 2015!
With such a significant number of crowdtesters in our Nest, we also launched our BirdPlus program. Our BirdPlus are experienced testers who support our Crowd team with the onboarding of new testers, management of test projects, and delivery of final reports.
Since its inception, our BirdPlus testers have been supporting us with over 1,300 projects thus far. They are located across Europe in Germany, Austria, France, Netherlands, Italy, and Spain.
That summer, we launched our organizational principles, which we call Orga 4.0, that defines the fundamentals of our teamwork till this day.
We hosted our first Bugs, Bier & Brezn event during Oktoberfest, which included presentations from Bastian Nominacher, as well as from Metafinanz and MaibornWolff.
We opened our first office in Sweden, while our Crowd grew to over 200,000 testers!
We took home our highest number of awards in a year in 2017, such as the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Award, German Innovation Prize, as well as two awards from German news magazine FOCUS, namely the Revenue Growth Champion and Top Employer among middle-sized businesses.
In spring, we had our biggest financing round yet at around 7m euros from Bayern Kapital and BayBG Venture Capital.
This was the year we closed our first-ever seven-figure deal with a renowned automotive manufacturer.
Testbirds also crossed the 100,000-mark for the number of bugs found across all our clients’ products.
We also bid farewell to one of our co-founders, Philipp, after 9 years, while Georg stepped into the role of CEO and Markus continuing as COO.
And here we are, celebrating our 10th anniversary as a GmbH in 2022.
We’re certainly looking forward to the next 10 years (and beyond) as a thriving crowdtesting provider. In the meantime, read the thoughts of our co-founders Georg and Markus on this past decade of Testbirds!