Los Angeles Business Journal

TestFlight Takes Off With Analytics Tool

By Natalie Jarvey Thursday, March 21, 2013
Ben Satterfield, co-founder of TestFlight. Photo courtesy of TestFlight.

Ben Satterfield, co-founder of TestFlight. Photo courtesy of TestFlight.

TestFlight, a Santa Monica company that helps developers test their mobile phone apps before they go up for sale on the iTunes App Store, launched a tool on Tuesday for apps once they go live.

Called FlightPath, this latest analytics tool provides data to app developers. For example, FlightPath could tell the developer how much time users are spending on the app or how frequently it crashes for someone with the latest iPhone.

FlightPath is a logical next step for TestFlight, said Ben Satterfield, the company’s co-founder. Developers use TestFlight to check how their app performs before it is available to download. Once the app is for sale, those developers need analytics so they can follow the success of, say, their latest Angry Birds competitor.

“It makes a lot of sense for us and for the developers,” Satterfield said. “If you think about the lifecycle of an app – once you go from beta testing, you move to production and, if you aren’t successful, you come back to beta testing. It’s a necessity for them to learn and grow and understand their business.”

TestFlight and FlightPath are both free services. Since launching in 2011, TestFlight has been used for more than 300,000 apps.

Satterfield said he plans to monetize the FlightPath tool by eventually charging for enterprise customers to provide extra services such as customer support.

TestFlight was acquired last year by Santa Monica tech company Burstly, which helps app developers monetize through in-app purchases. The two teams – Burstly employs about 35 people and TestFlight has about 15 engineers – now share offices in the heart of Silicon Beach off Second Street.

“It was apparent to both teams that the tools were complimentary at some level,” said Evan Rifkin, Burstly’s co-founder. “There were advantages to being together.”

At the time of the acquisition, TestFlight introduced a product called TestFlight Live. The product worked similar to FlightPath.

Satterfield said the company will decide whether to wind down TestFlight Live after it finishes rolling out FlightPath and has received some user feedback.