Alumni tech startup accelerates to success

Isabella Reed | Courtesy

Editor’s note: This story previously misrepresented the combined value of the startups. This has been corrected to $600 billion, and we apologize for the error.

Bugs and glitches in mobile applications can impact business revenue, dramatically decrease customer satisfaction and waste software developers’ precious time. To combat these issues, alumni Illiana Reed, Isabella Reed and Miguel Salinas set out to streamline mobile app testing with AI through their startup camelQA, which is part of the winter 2024 Y Combinator batch.

The Y Combinator is a startup accelerator that started in 2005 and has launched 4,000 startups with a combined valuation of $600 billion. Startups accepted into Y Combinator go through a three-month program designed to develop their product and attract funding. According to Y Combinator, this involves an initial investment, mentorship and educational opportunities aimed to give startups a steep advantage.

Companies that have been through the accelerator include Airbnb, DoorDash, Coinbase, Reddit and Dropbox. According to Y Combinator, there is a 1.5-2% acceptance rate into the program. camelQA passed all the rounds of screening, which include a written essay and an interview, and successfully made it into the winter 2024 batch.

“[Through Y Combinator] you have the opportunity to present all the problems that you’re facing and then have somebody who’s not only been through the program, but has exited at potentially a unicorn status, which means their company exited over a billion dollars,” camelQA CRO Isabella Reed said. “Like helping you decipher what to do next and helping you with the problem.”

camelQA is an AI tool that helps software developers test their mobile applications and find software bugs without additional human intervention. Developers provide the link to their application and testing instructions in plain English, and camelQA automatically provides detailed reporting and documentation to help developers resolve the bug.

The idea for camelQA originated when Illiana Reed, the CEO, and Salinas, the CTO, decided to leave their careers at Google and Apple to pursue indie mobile development.

“[Google] honestly, for me, it wasn’t fulfilling my entrepreneurial bug … I like seeing my work have impact,” Illiana Reed said. “And when you’re working at a place like Google, it’s just so big that it’s really difficult to make a lot of impact.”

Illiana Reed and Salinas brought Isabella Reed onto the team for technical sales and revenue operations, and within eight months last year, they developed and delivered five mobile products to customers. Through their experience shipping mobile applications, they ran into the same issues regarding QA testing that they encountered in their previous roles and decided to address the problem with camelQA.

“We were building mobile apps, and Miguel is an excellent programmer, but he also loves to push things to production without testing,” Illiana Reed said. “And I was like, you know what? We should just see if we can have AI simplify this process for us.”

The camelQA team is currently working on scaling their software to meet the needs of their customers and grow their company. Some of their future features involve automatically creating test cases to find software bugs, recommendations for bug fixes and web-based application testing. In the long run, they define success as becoming a de facto solution for mobile QA testing. The co-founders of camelQA are excited for young entrepreneurs.

“Just try a bunch of stuff,” Salinas said. “It’s not probably your first idea. Probably it’s not going to be a life changing thing, but it’ll probably teach you way more than you think it will. So just ship something, even if it’s small.”

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