December 21, 2022

UNGUESS, alongside companies to test products and services

In this interview we will find out more about UNGUESS together with Luca Manara, Ceo and Co-Founder of the company, a reference point for crowdtesting and Gaetano Liggieri, IAG Champion in this investment together with Gianluca D'Agostino.

Founded in 2015 within the "Mobile Lab" research center of the Politecnico di Milano from an idea of three former students, Edoardo Vannutelli, Filippo Maria Renga and Luca Manara, today Ceo of the startup, UNGUESS was the first in Italy to use the crowdtesting methodology, initially positioning itself as a tool that tests apps and websites on the market to certify their quality. UNGUESS is based on a community of real users, involved in testing campaigns to try digital services, and find major system glitches (bugs) and verify their usability. Today their offer is much broader: in these years they have tested any kind of digital products, from apps to software, digital payment systems, smart devices and e-commerce, and they have extended their service areas, adding to the tools for testing and verifying the quality of digital applications, services and tools for optimizing User Experience and Customer Experience up to embracing the Cyber Security sector with a solution based on a crowd of 500 certified Italian Ethical Hackers.


What is UNGUESS and how was it born?

UNGUESS was born in 2015 under the name of AppQuality within the Mobile Lab, a laboratory of the Politecnico di Milano, Cremona branch, which at the time was working on the most advanced technologies in Mobile software development. The idea of Crowdtesting, at the core of our service offering, was born as a response to the need to find a solution to create quality products for mobile. We were the first in Italy to open the possibility of testing a digital product or mobile application directly on end users, on their devices, before release and with the Fresh Eye approach, showing it to someone who had never seen it before.

The intuition paid off, and over the years we have experienced significant growth. We doubled and then tripled the team (to date we are more than 80 professionals) as well as the number of clients, now more than 300, mostly enterprise, with the likes of Enel and Sky. We also expanded our service offerings beyond Software Quality Assurance: thus, the name AppQuality began to stick with us, and in early 2022 we became UNGUESS.

UNGUESS wants to explain to our customers that we can help them increase the amount of data with which they make decisions and decrease "guess work," that is, decision making based on intuition, instinct, and experience.

As I said, the services have grown over the years, and we have expanded the range of possibilities to leverage the global community we have built. To date, they are divided into three macro-families:

● Software Quality Assurance: tests that aim to identify Bugs and glitches, to create "Bug Free" products.

● Experience Optimization: tests geared toward refining the user experience including multichannel and improving UX/CX KPIs that consequently increase the conversion rate.

● Cybersecurity: with specific solutions dedicated precisely to digital security and with unique approach in the market based on our ability to organize and manage global engaged communities, in this case of Ethical Hacking experts.

Over time, you have been able to accommodate the different demands of a rapidly evolving market that was increasingly seeking validation for different kinds of products and services. Over these years you have won the trust of different entities, among others, the business angels of Italian Angels for Growth. How important is it to have good investors on your side?

At UNGUESS we have always sought out people and realities that could give our journey support not only from a financial point of view, but also in building a network and acquiring skills that perhaps were not yet available to us. For this reason, realities such as Italian Angels for Growth have been a fundamental part of our growth. And precisely in its most delicate phase, when still the market response that we have today, and that allows us to work constantly on the evolution of our product, was not there. At that moment being able to count on a partner like Italian Angels was crucial.

UNGUESS is powered by real people who are heavily involved. As we said, your scope has expanded and consolidated in the areas of user research, customer experience, and cybersecurity. At the center is always him: the crowd. Why be present in this area and what are your future goals?

Yes, the crowd that we have built and now also has a brand, TRYBER, is really our strength. There are millions of real users located now on 4 continents, whom we can reach precisely from a "Fresh Eyes" perspective to test our clients' products and digital solutions. We can reach millions of testers around the world also thanks to the connection of our platform with international marketplaces, with the added value of being able to involve very complex and specific targets: for example, we have conducted tests with people from Morocco with an active account on gambling sites, or with a Chinese audience with high spending capacity and fashion enthusiast, or even with users from all over Europe who use a specific home hardware device. The gamification system and tools developed allow us to create high engagement and quality of interaction with our communities. It is this crowd that allows us to collect end-user feedback and make it available in a form that is agile, immediately actionable and integrated with the client's internal processes. Ultimately, to enable user-centered decisions on digital product development.

Being present in this area means having a vantage point on what are the most disruptive technological innovations and the response they generate in end users. Our goals go precisely in this direction: we want to consolidate and increase our position as a reliable, innovative vendor capable of providing insights coming directly from the end user, on any kind of product, service or digital experience. Innovations such as Blockchain, Metaverse and Artificial Intelligence call us to a pioneering role in understanding in advance what users expect from interactions with brands, in Italy as well as abroad. All this is done by offering our clients a solution that is increasingly effective, efficient, and better able to respond to their needs.


Gaetano, you boast a deep knowledge of E-learning and Digital Advertising services. You have been operating in this market for over 20 years in various roles of responsibility. You are founder of Docekho, an E-learning agency operating in the world of internal training management for companies. You have been Ceo of EKHO, a digital communication agency, of Pantea, a company providing Digital Advertising platforms, as well as Manager in both TIM and Vodafone, where you developed and enriched Mobile and VAS skills. How did the meeting with Italian Angels for Growth come about?

The meeting with IAG was born in 2014, when I experienced, as a startup entrepreneur, a period in my life. At that time, like all startups, the need for capital was important, so among other initiatives I met IAG.

The reality I met was immediately very interesting, not only as an entrepreneur looking for investment at that time, but also from a professional and human point of view. Unlike other realities I had meet, in IAG I met a world of many professionals, entrepreneurs and startuppers. A dynamic world, full of initiatives and with many new ideas related to innovation.

I immediately had the feeling of a reality that could give so much to the development of entrepreneurial initiatives, not only in economic terms, but also from other points of view: in fact, it represented for young entrepreneurs, also a guide, a support, a comparison on strategic choices or entrepreneurial initiatives, a parterre of available IAG members coming from different realities and with deep and varied skills. Just a great reality and a great meeting! I personally have been lucky enough to experience IAG as both a startupper and a partner, and both experiences have been very positive. In fact, after the first meeting as a startupper, I decided, precisely because of all the aspects mentioned above, to join IAG also as a partner.

When it comes to developing a young innovative enterprise, the availability of capital and market knowledge make all the difference. By relying on IAG, a startup has the expertise and business network of experienced and established professionals in their field. What value do you recognize in Luca and his team and why the choice to partner with them in their growth?

When I first met Luca Manara, thanks in part to my friend Gianluca D'agostino, also an IAG member, who had spoken to me positively about him, I was immediately passionate about his initiative.

The idea of crowdtesting was not only innovative at the time, but it gave large companies and SMEs, regardless of their nature, a significant opportunity to improve, streamline and optimize their internal processes of delivering their digital products. This was also compounded by the fact that I liked Luca and his guys right away: fresh, bright, and with passion to spare, really a nice group undertaking around a good idea.

I invested, through IAG in UNGUESS, became Champion IAG, together with Gianluca D'agostino, of this company, which has grown considerably today. I did not have, in all these years of side-by-side, years in which I poured my professional experience, in which I saw day by day this reality grow, years of difficult choices, but also of cheerful moments, a minimum of regret for this choice of mine or a doubt that things would not go well and would know a significant development.

What have been the most important moments over the years alongside UNGUESS in the role of Champion IAG?

Many. The initial moment, when IAG had not yet decided whether or not to invest in UNGUESS and the meetings were multiplying; the moment when CDI also decided to come alongside the investment, the first clients; the many evenings working on business models to improve them and on business plans; the moments when we were helping the company in hiring interviews and in the search for what are now key figures in UNGUESS; the moment when the Cybersecurity division was born.

A certainly significant moment was Round A. A major fund was finally entering the UNGUESS membership, there it became clear to me how things would really change.

Now the company has grown so much, we are preparing for other important appointments that we hope will soon take UNGUESS into new territory, into other business and market levels, and, as all of us IAG members of UNGUESS hope for, into a forthcoming and successful exit of IAG from this venture. It would be the right crowning achievement for our role: that of Angels who come alongside small businesses, pamper them, make them grow and develop, and then when they become adult and robust, let them go on to pursue new paths.