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Summary:

Error reporting is turning into a lucrative business for Exceptional Software, which runs two services Airbrake.io and Exceptional.io. Exceptional now boasts 100,000 customers like Square, Groupon, Skype and others and is profitable without taking outside funding.

Exceptional, Airbrake
photo: Exceptional

Errors can kill a startup. But for Exceptional Software, it’s been a goldmine. The San Francisco startup, which offers two error tracking services for web and mobile apps — Exceptional.io and Airbrake.io — has zoomed to 100,000 customers in 102 countries including Airbnb, Square, Skype, Groupon, HotelTonight and others.

The company bought Airbrake in February, added 25,000 customers since the acquisition and is now tracking about 250,000 errors every day. Exceptional, which has not taken outside funding, has achieved profitability and has seen revenues grow by 400 percent in the last year. The service covers 15 languages and frameworks with the top five being Ruby, iOS, Android, PHP and Javascript.

Exceptional’s success speaks to a lot of the trends in development these days as developers code in very agile environments with frequent deployments and increasingly rely on cloud services. The move to dynamic languages like Python and Ruby, which are now used alongside other languages, also creates more potential for apps and services to break.

Airbrake, ExceptionalAnd now with mobile apps rising, developers are also keeping track of both web and mobile errors. Mobile apps that rely on freemium models are especially in need of error tracking because they rely on conversion funnels that can be disrupted through exceptions.

“Our differentiation is we are targeting a complete view of applications both on mobile and on server side activity,” said CEO and founder Jonathan Siegel, an associate at Accel Partners.

Siegel said the company’s growth is showing no signs of letting up. But he’s not looking to just take in more customers. He said Exceptional wants to make the process of error reporting delightful. In the future, he wants to allow people to follow error reporting like customer service relationship management software so they track an error with a URL to see how it’s triaged. And he believes he can make the process of encountering dead links better for consumers, by automatically diverting people to another link or providing a custom message for users.

“We’re going back to customers and providing more value,” said Siegel. “We think this is a product that every company needs.”

  1. Daniel Higginbotham Friday, September 21, 2012

    I’ve created a free, open-source alternative to Exceptional/Airbrake, Whoops: http://www.whoopsapp.com/ . Its main differences are that you can log anything, not just exceptions, and that it’s self-hosted.

    I’ve used Airbrake (well, it was Hoptoad then) and it’s a great product. You might want to use Whoops instead if:

    * You don’t mind spending a minute setting up your own server on Heroku
    * You want log events using an arbitrary structure (it uses mongodb to store the logs)
    * You want to search your events
    * You’re behind a firewall
    * You want to do logging for multiple apps and don’t want to have to use a different login for each one

    The github repo for Whoops is here: https://github.com/flyingmachine/whoops

    Hope this helps developers :)

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  2. For those interested in more numbers and users distribution we’ve put together this blog post and info-graphic. http://blog.exceptional.io/site-news/exceptional-infographic/

    Fun fact, Over 48% of our users are outside the US.

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