Waldo CEO

Waldo’s Amine Bellakrid: Solving Problems with Elegance and Efficiency

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When working in any industry long enough, you will notice inefficiencies and recurring issues. What sets an entrepreneur apart from the rest is that they set out to address these pain points.

After a decade as an iOS engineer, designer and product manager, Waldo co-founder and CEO Amine Bellakrid had grown increasingly frustrated by how mobile app testing was being done.

Together with his co-founder Laurent Sigal, he set out to solve this problem, and in 2018, Waldo was born.  

Waldo is a SaaS tool that lets mobile teams run continuous end-to-end tests to fix bugs during development, not after. Waldo is the first script-less testing platform that helps anyone create reliable, automated mobile tests.

Founding Waldo

Bellakrid, now based in Brooklyn, New York, was born and raised in Morocco. From there, he moved to Paris, France, to join an engineering program, and he later joined the d.school at Stanford University. It was there he discovered design thinking and UX.

The challenge of creating beautiful design and great UX for mobile screens is what excites him.

“The best experiences we’re getting in the digital world are generally in mobile.”, Bellakrid shares while discussing his passion for the mobile industry. “The fact that you have limited screen space makes it interesting from a design perspective; to fit rich experiences on a small space.”

What others may see as limitations drives Bellakrid, and in his opinion, it’s what gives mobile its unique charm. “That’s what’s always attracted me to create elegant solutions in mobile apps,” he says.  

However, this passion and enjoyment for mobile also brought with it its share of frustrations, and Bellakrid could not help but notice the recurring issues in the industry. For years, mobile development teams have lacked the necessary tools and frameworks to make mobile testing an accelerant in the software development lifecycle. “I’ve seen the problem with mobile testing and what exists out there, and I’ve never felt that there was a solution helping mobile teams effectively.” After coming to this conclusion, Bellakrid and his co-founder sought to create a solution.

How Waldo Sets Itself Apart from Other Products

Waldo’s mobile testing capabilities differ significantly from the industry’s default options. Bellakrid believes that mobile’s relatively closed systems are a big issue with innovating in this space.

Developers will have to contest with varying infrastructures between iOS, Android and the many other operating systems. The default solution offered today for companies is to test or use scripts manually, but as Bellakrid explains, scripting presents its own set of problems.

With Waldo, mobile development teams can set up tests without writing a line of scripting code. It seamlessly integrates in the teams’ continuous integration (CI) pipeline. If a test fails, Waldo lets the user know precisely where things went wrong so the failed test can be updated or flagged to the team to fix the issue.

“Scripting has historically proven very brittle, and you need a lot of resources and engineering time,” Bellakrid notes that the result is not quite automation and doesn’t always work well. It is here that Waldo sets itself apart from other companies, as they sought to create an entirely new solution that is much more reliable and easier to use.

Bellakrid points out that many companies will claim their solutions are no-code or AI, but all suffer from the same problems because they are still based on scripting. Waldo’s technology is not based on scripting, thus avoiding the issue entirely.

The Key to Waldo’s Success? Maintaining Passion for the Product

A little research and you will find glowing reviews about Waldo. “The feedback we’re getting is very positive because the customers know there’s nothing like Waldo. They’re super excited by the features we’re able to provide and the value it brings to their teams.”

Bellakrid’s team at Waldo is comprised of engineers with experience in the mobile industry, UX and product design, so their customer’s problems are all too familiar. This is why they also use Walod in-house, “And we couldn’t live without it.” Bellakrid says.

“I think what excites me about Waldo is that I’m helping other mobile companies ship better apps.” Many of the customers that Bellakrid and Waldo serve are developers of apps that he uses himself. “To know all the customers that we have and see the logos and apps that I use myself and be able to be a part of that journey helping these teams, that’s what keeps me motivated.”

Advice for Other SaaS Founders

When asked for advice, he would give to other SaaS founders, specifically those interested in scaling their company, Bellakrid shares how Waldo has managed their own operations.

“We’re building a sustainable company. That’s what matters to us,” he says.
Sustainability in this context is being able to maintain the strength of the business and improve its offerings.

The first way that Waldo focuses on achieving this is by working with highly qualified people. Besides the tangible benefits of quality work, Bellakrid emphasizes the excitement and atmosphere a highly skilled and motivated team can bring to a workspace. (Speaking of building a team, Waldo is currently hiring talents who share their vision that product can elegantly solve complex problems. You can visit their hiring page here to learn more about the open positions)

The second central tenet of this system is efficiency, and for Bellakrid and Waldo, that means achieving the maximum impact with a minimal team. Bellakrid’s dedication to sustainability and efficiency has helped Waldo avoid the problems of scaling too fast. Although the company is flourishing (Waldo increased its revenue by 6X in 2021 while expanding the team from 8 to 20 people) it’s always with sustainability in mind.

In February 2022, Waldo closed a $15M Series A round which will further accelerate Bellakrid and his co-founder, Laurent Sigal’s, vision— scaling their GTM team to continue attracting more top-rated mobile apps and help them ship high-quality mobile products to the market, fast.

Trends in the SaaS Space

As for current trends in the SaaS space, Bellakrid mentions the chaos of the hiring market. While many job markets will be experiencing their hiring woes, the SaaS industry may be one of the most intense, with a more limited pool of candidates.

Despite this craze, Bellakrid wants SaaS companies to recognize the external nature of these issues and focus on the primary internal responsibility of their company: to deliver value. “Focus on what really matters, which is delivering the value to customers…The rest comes with it.”

If you want to keep up with Waldo and learn more about their innovative product, check out Waldo.com (And, if you’re like us and curious about the Lama logo, we asked why, and Bellakrid’s response? “Why not?”)

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