The inspiration for Ross Nochumowitz’s startup BetaPunch—which connects startups who need beta testers with people interested in being founders’ lab rats—came after he read about a nearly identical service, BetaBait, which launched in late 2011.
“I thought their execution was really poor,” he says. “I wanted to focus on getting actually feedback for the new startups.”
While both services try to bring startups and beta testers together, Nochumowitz’s BetaPunch takes a slightly different approach to BetaBait’s e-mailing out to its community of testers new apps that need to be tried out.
BetaPunch works in concert with the API from the website Screenr, a service that takes recordings of people’s computer screens. When a startup signs up on BetaPunch, it receives a custom URL that it can send out to testers. Beta testers end up on a startup’s website via that URL, and a video of how a beta tester interacted with that particular startup’s site is forwarded to the startup.
“The best type of feedback you can give somebody is giving user a video of how a person has navigated the site,” Nochumowitz, 27, says.
Only startups need to sign up on BetaPunch. Some might not want their websites open to a free-for-all beta testing, which Beta Punch accounts for by allowing startups to either remain private or list publicly on BetaPunch’s site.
While BetaBait is a free service, BetaPunch charges $39 a month for startups to conduct user testing with an unlimited amount of beta testers. (A free trial that allows for three user tests is offered.) Included in the monthly charge are three BetaPunch user tests guaranteed by Nochumowitz, separate from the tests initiated by startups when they e-mail their custom URL. So even if a startup fails to (or just doesn’t) e-mail out its custom URL to potential beta testers, Nochumowitz will ensure at least three people have tested the startup’s site.
Nochumowitz is a Baltimore native who lives in Mt. Washington and attended the Park School and Goucher College. His day job is that of part-owner of Big Boyz Bail Bonds company, owned by his family since 2000, popular (or notorious) in Baltimore for the ubiquitous pink and yellow pens. And he knows “virtually nothing about” coding and programming.
“Everything on BetaPunch is actually outsourced [to different developers],” says Nochumowitz. “I do spend a ton of time at night and on weekends working on trying to market the site.”-30-