Lookback — a user testing app that was co-founded in Sweden first as a side project by Spotify engineers before striking out on its own with funding from Index and others — has made its first acquisition: it has acquired a UK startup called Reissued, the company behind screencasting app QuickCast, which had 15,000 users and 500,000 screencasts recorded on its platform, from customers that include the likes of Twitter and Basecamp.
Terms of the deal are not being disclosed but this is a tech and talent acquisition: co-founders Neil Kinnish and Pete Nelson are joining Lookback to become the company’s UK outpost (Lookback is now headquartered in Silicon Valley) and have already put their skills to use with the launch of new versions of Lookback for Mac (the QuickCast service rebranded) and Android, adding to the iOS version that already existed. Along with the purchase, Lookback is also releasing a new, 1.0 version of its user-testing platform.
Existing QuickCast users will be offered the chance of upgrading free to the new service in the coming weeks, the company says.
This will help Lookback — which now has 30,000 users including companies like Spotify, Lyft, Squarespaceand Venmo — compete better against the likes of UserTesting.com in the race to give developers and app publishers more live data about how their apps are working — or not, as the case may be. And it follows a recent exit for another screen-sharing app, Screenhero, which was acquired by Slack earlier this year.
It looks like Reissued — based out of the UK — was bootstrapped, while Lookback raised a $2.2 million seed round in 2014 from Index, Parse co-founder Ilya Sukhar and Lakestar.
Jonatan Littke, CEO and co-founder of Lookback, says that his own company’s youth and small size made it an unlikely buyer in this deal when QuickCast came knocking.
“We were just a small team ourselves and did not see ourselves as someone buying other companies, we had never thought about that so we said no, right away,” he said. But then Reissued’s team starting talking to other companies, and Littke said his team realised it would be a good fit.
By then, he said, they had already received acquisition offers from others and had added more to their own product. “At this point, I was convinced. I was impressed by the team, and what their product had become and really wanted to work with them. After a tough negotiation, both internally and with QuickCast we finally found an agreement, and I’m very proud that we managed to do the deal.”
One of the key developments as a result of the acquisition is the move into Android, which is not so much about new functionality — as with the iOS app, users can record their screens, as well as their faces and voices — as it is about capturing a group of users that have distinctly different behaviors when compared to iOS users.
More broadly, seeing QuickCast get rolled into Lookback’s business is another step in the wider consolidation that can be summed up in the question: Is this a feature or a product?
As the app industry continues to mature, and monetization of these services over time becomes more challenging, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more standalone services come together in bigger platform plays. (And you could argue that bigger companies like Yahoo, Google, Microsoft and Apple have also acquired developer-focused mobile services for a similar strategy of developing one-stop-shops for developers.)
Additional reporting: Josh Constine