Mob4hire Crowdsources Mobile App Testing

I love simple business ideas built around exceedingly painful problems. If you are one of the 10,000+ developers that write applications for mobile phones, how can you possibly test your software efficiently on 7,500 different cell phone handsets on 400 different wireless networks around the world?

That was the question that Paul Poutanen asked himself. From his days at Calgary based KnowledgeWhere as President of Blister Entertainment and Wi-LAN, Paul knew that it cost about $6,000 per handset to test an application (buying the handset in all the different O/S and memory configurations along with the time it takes to do the Q/A). He also knew that with 4 billion handsets in the world, there must be a lot of people who could take care of the task.

Thus was born Mob4Hire is reducing the pain of mobile application developers to test their applications through crowdsourcing. Essentially, testers bid, test and get paid for the projects that mobile developers contribute to the site.

Mob4hire is in the ALPHA/BETA stage of development right now, with Paul and his team focused on recruiting testers. While the community is still relatively small, it includes people from Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, India, Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland, UK, and the US. Mob4hire is well on it’s way to establishing it’s goal of 5,000 community members.

Paul likens the state of the current wireless industry to the PC industry in the early ‘90s, “It’s extremely fast paced and chaotic, with a lot of players, standards and opportunity.”

One of the interesting aspects about Mob4hire is that it originated as an idea at Cambrian House. It competed in the Cambrian House Tournament of Champions from August 25 to September 19, 2007, and the crowd sourcing community helped Paul incubate the idea to the extent that he was able to launch and be live in December 2007!

Mob4hire was #10 on the January 2008 Alberta Start-up index.