From 2008 Entrepreneurial Learning Community Participants to a $20M Series A Company
Former Freshman Entrepreneurial Learning Community participants Scott Wilson (Management, 2012) and Jonathan Perl (Computer Science) met during their first day of their ENTR 20000 Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Innovation class. Both were in Purdue’s Entrepreneurial Learning Community program, which offers first semester freshman students interested in entrepreneurship the opportunity to live together in a dorm and pursue the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program as a cohort.
That was 14 years ago, and today these Purdue friends have co-founded, with Laura Cressman, a $20M Series A company called QA Wolf (https://www.qawolf.com/). The company focuses on software testing and has pioneered the category of “test coverage as a service” by combining its technology with in-house QA experts to get customers to 80% test coverage in under 4 months. Imagine you are a company that makes software. You have just finished writing a new piece of software, and you want to make sure that it works before you sell it to your customers. You could hire a team of people to test the software, but that would be expensive. Instead, you could use test coverage as a service (TaaS), which simulates someone else testing your software for you. The venture capitalizes on the reality that engineering talent is scarcer and more expensive than ever before, and development teams usually don’t have the time or expertise to write and maintain end-to-end tests in-house. The goal of QA Wolf is to complete the job for customers, guaranteeing high test coverage, with as little effort as possible from clients’ engineering resources.
Scott reports that after he graduated from Purdue he had operations, quality assurance, growth, and marketing roles at Danaher, Amazon, REI, and was employee #11 at Wyze Labs. Scott remembers reviewing orders from customers for WYZE products in the early days and noticing the name Hank Feeser, the name of his former ENTR 20000 instructor. He reached out to Hank and it was, indeed, his former entrepreneurship instructor from freshman year.
Jon left Purdue to pursue entrepreneurial ventures of his own, as well joining ventures including Angie’s List, Dispatch, and Zip Drug. Early in his career, he even came back to Purdue to serve as a guest lecturer for a computer science and entrepreneurship course.
Scott says, “The Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation program connected me with equally ambitious people during a pivotal point in my life. Living on the same floor in the same dormitory and attending the same classes together created a close-knit community enabling collaboration and friendship to thrive.” Both Scott and Jon note that it is pretty incredible that 14 years later, they are still in touch with certificate participants, and amazing that they were able to found a company as former classmates and lifelong friends.