Sauce Labs makes its first acquisition following $70M funding round


Development automation provider Sauce Labs Inc. is already starting to make use of the $70 million that investors put into its war chest last month.

The startup, which claims to operate the industry’s most popular software testing platform, has acquired a low-key rival called TestObject GmbH for an undisclosed sum. The Berlin-based firm offers a cloud service that enables mobile developers to check how their apps run on different devices. According to its website, customer code is executed on real smartphones and tablets rather than in the software-based sandboxes that are most commonly used for the task.

TestObject claims that this approach has a couple of major benefits. First, its service allows companies to assess their apps without having to painstakingly customize the underlying testing environment for their specific needs. Second, the platform makes it possible to take physical factors into account such as excess battery heat and hardware compatibility issues, which traditional device simulation software doesn’t support.

Mobile emulators, on the other hand, do provide this capability. But they’re often difficult to set up and can be slow, since replicating the characteristics of hardware components requires a lot of processing power. And even with the practically unlimited computing resources available from the public cloud, it’s impossible to account for every factor might affect a smartphone or tablet in a real-world setting.

TestObject’s service counts Nestlé S.A., Citrix Systems Inc. and browser maker Opera Software ASA as three of the major brands that rely on its platform to test their mobile apps. Sauce Labs will absorb these customer accounts in the wake of today’s acquisition along with the firm’s technology, which it plans to incorporate into its Real Device Cloud testing tool.

The TestObject team will come aboard as well to help with the integration effort. Its Berlin office is set to serve as Sauce Labs’ new European headquarters under the leadership of current Chief Executive Hannes Lenke, who will assume the position of general manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa operations.

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