Exclusive Q&A with Omar Gabr, Co-Founder of Instabug

Instabug, a software company that provides mobile apps with real-time contextual insights about their apps’ performance and user experiences, recently announced its Series A investment led by reputed investors Accel Partners.

Following the investment announcement, MAGNiTT took the opportunity to catch up with Co-Founder of Instabug, Omar Gabr to discover more about this startup.

Q1. Tell us briefly about Instabug. How does it work?

Instabug provides mobile apps with real-time contextual insights about their apps’ performance and user experiences. We’re empowering teams around the world with the best-in-class bug and feedback reporting, secure crash reporting, intuitive in-app surveys, and a powerful infrastructure that supports over 2.5 billion devices.

Q2. What are the different types of insights that an app owner can gain from Instabug?

Initially, Instabug started with a simple way for testers and beta users to report bugs by shaking their device and gained popularity quickly among developers. Over the years, Instabug evolved to be a platform that provides mobile apps with real-time contextual insights about how their apps are performing in its production environments, by adding crash reporting, in-app surveys, in addition to the bug reporting product.

Mobile teams big and small can’t afford to be reactive to errors. They need better information and more visibility about how their app is doing, where it’s falling down, when it fails completely, what works, and why.

A screenshot or App Store comments or support tickets isn’t enough on its own. Mobile teams need the full picture. Instabug provides mobile developers with real-time contextual insights throughout the entire mobile app lifecycle.

Q3. What is your big-picture vision for the future of Instabug?

We are fortunate that we have managed to build a world-class product that’s being used by 25,000 apps, running on 2.5B devices, and is helping resolve more than 700M bugs. That kind of ubiquity paved our way to building more products on top of our initial bug reporting product and we’re planning to continue doing this.

Mobile app users deserve the best experiences. The mobile-first revolution means more diversity, higher quality apps, and savvy users who depend on them. Instabug has the advantage of being wildly adopted and having the data to provide apps with the insights they need to ship the best experiences to their users.

Q4. It is quite extraordinary that you managed to raise this round with the current COVID-19 crisis. Was this round in the works from much earlier? How did COVID-19 affect your fundraising efforts?

We started our fundraising conversations after the COVID-19 outbreak. We’ve been working with Rich Wong and Accel since 2016 and we’re very excited to continue our partnership with them. We grew 120% in revenues in the last 12 months, adding dozens of Enterprise customers. We’ve always been running a disciplined business, we’re almost profitable for some time now. And we have big plans for continued growth. This is what made our fundraising fast in the middle of all the current events, we closed in only a couple of weeks.

Q5. It’s safe to assume that after this round, you’re going to have some exciting growth plans. Can you share some of Instabug’s short-term plans for expansion with us? 

Last year was a great year for us. We doubled our revenues, captured a lot of enterprise companies, expanded our team, and shipped great features to our product. The new investment will allow us to accelerate our plans, double down on our vision, and grow even faster. We have great plans for 2020 - in a couple of months, we’ll be launching a great addition to our product portfolio. We’re all very excited about this milestone.

Q6. In your opinion, what are some of the most exciting things happening in the app world right now?

Enterprise companies accelerating their digital transformation due to current events. With most people staying at home, businesses need to adapt their products and strategies to cope with this change. Since we’re working with dozens of Fortune500 companies, it’s interesting to see that from the inside, and we’re very fortunate to have laid down the groundwork to ride this wave and support these companies in their missions.

Q7. What were you looking for from your investors, beyond capital?

We were fortunate that in all of our funding rounds, we didn’t need the money as much as we wanted to partner with the investors. We’re honored to have Rich Wong from Accel as our lead investor in our Seed round in 2016 and our recent Series A. Rich has invested in Atlassian, Admob, moPub, Checkr, UIPath, Rovio and others, so he truly understands the space and his experience is very relevant.

Accel is one of the top tier venture capital firms in the world that invested in Facebook, Slack, Dropbox, Spotify, Supercell, Cloudera, and many more.

Q8. What do you foresee as the largest challenges to scaling Instabug in MENA / beyond?

On a macro-regional level, I don’t see many challenges. We have brilliant people here in the region that are excited to join startups, we have great companies that are emerging every day disrupting ancient industries, we have many more VCs that are willing to invest more and take more risks, and we have government regulators that are coming up with new laws to support startups. I’m truly optimistic about the next few years within the MENA ecosystem.

Q9. What advice would you give to yourself five years ago? 

That’s a hard one! I’d probably tell myself to be less worried about the future, maybe I would have had less white hair by now.

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COVID-19 further suppressed the number of deals in MENA-based startups in April but total funding increased by 202% as EMPG joined MENA’s unicorn list by raising $150M from existing shareholders. Learn more details in MAGNiTT’s April 2020 Dashboard.