Instabug was one of the eight startups from Google for Entrepreneurs partner programs to participate in BlackBox Connect, a 2-week immersion program in Silicon Valley for non-US based founders to connect and learn from entrepreneurs, investors, experts, and executives.
We met with Omar Gabr, Co-founder at Instabug, to talk about their experience in Silicon Valley, what they learned, and how they plan to fortify their barriers to entry among a fierce competition.
Instabug in a Nutshell
Instabug offers a solution for app feedback; in less than a minute, iOS developers can trace bugs easily and efficiently. The founders decided to create this tool after they saw there is a huge gap between developers and users. “It is ironic that developers develop apps, but don’t develop ways to connect with the people using the apps,” stated Omar. “Instabug is a tool that can be integrated within any iOS application. When users experience a problem with the app, all they have to do is shake their mobile device, and a screenshot appears on which the user can draw whatever they want using different colors or write their feedback in a textbox.”
Omar explained that they got the idea after they read through the reviews of the apps in App Store. “Many reviews were negative, and some users were even asking for their money back. We realized negative feedback would be much more valuable if it reached the developers instead of App Store.”
In February 2013, Instabug was just an idea. Six months later, Instabug not only went public with its Beta version, but it also won first place at the MIT Arab Startup Competition, and its founders secured a seat to fly to Silicon Valley and be part of the prestigious Blackbox Connect.
During the ArabNet Digital Summit 2013, Omar took the stage to talk more about Instabug in front of a huge audience of investors, key industry leaders, and potential clients and partners.
Instabug at Silicon Valley
Instabug founders just returned from the “Blackbox Mansion,” where they took active part in the Blackbox Connect 2-week immersion program. This summer, the program was sponsored by Google for Entrepreneurs and brought together eight non-US startups to learn, collaborate, and connect with the top investors, VCs, experts, and executives around the world.
This is the list of the eight participating startups...
Instabug was waiting for the opportunity to gain exposure in Silicon Valley, but the founders didn’t know that this opportunity was right around the corner. “The program was just what we needed to be part of Silicon Valley’s startup scene. And it surely exceeded our highest expectation,” exclaimed Omar.
When talking about what they liked most about the program, Omar said: “First, we were delighted to meet renowned people such as Robert Scoble, the founders of Siri, and many other influential people, investors, and potential partners. Not only did they give us great tips about running a startup, but they also enriched our network, giving Instabug great momentum.”
“Second, it was very exciting to connect with so many like-minded entrepreneurs coming from different cultures; hearing about the challenges they are facing in their markets made us look at our own challenges from a different angle.”
“Last but not least, the few days we spent at Blackbox Connect gave us first-hand exposure to the startup ecosystem in Silicon Valley and how things worked around here.”
The only disappointment that Instabug founders had was the ten days they missed from the program as they waited for the Visas to be issued.
As a next step, the founders will be joining another program co-organized by Techwadi and Google for Entrepreneurs in the coming month.
How Instabug Plans to Keep Competitors at Bay
While Instabug is a successful and innovative tool for connecting developers and users, the question is how it will maintain its first-mover advantage and increase its barriers to entry.
“Instabug is a communication tool between the developer and the user. We did not create the ultimate solution for mobile apps, but we knew exactly how to create a tool that fulfills its purpose very well,” explained Omar. “We conducted intense research to know which features we should add to our tool and this, in turn, increases our barriers to entry. We are also focusing on building a strong user base in a very short time, making it hard for competitors to keep up pace.”
“Of course, Google may decide to build a similar tool, but its tool will target Android apps only. Instabug supports iOS apps and, hopefully soon, will also support Android and Windows phone apps,” continued Omar.
In short, the laser focus of Instabug and the complete dedication of its founders give it great advantage over its competitors. Undoubtedly, the future holds great promises for Instabug, and we can’t wait to hear about their ongoing updates.