Embrace (YC S19) – Spot and fix bugs in mobile apps

Hi HN!

I’m Eric, the co-founder of Embrace (https://embrace.io).

Embrace is a debugging and performance monitoring platform that gives developers the information and context they need to monitor and solve errors, crashes, and performance issues. Think of it as what you wish Crashlytics had evolved into combined with the session replay capability of Fullstory.

Before Embrace, I co-founded the mobile gaming company Scopely, where we made six top-grossing mobile games including Yahtzee, Walking Dead, and Star Trek. The pain I felt while developing those games sparked the idea for Embrace. Customers and I would find bugs that were impossible to reproduce by the development and QA teams, and the analytics and logging tools we had in place just weren’t enough to solve them.

We had crashes under control, so we cared more about startup freezes, failed purchases, and out-of-memory app closes. Without reproducing the issue, we couldn’t tell if the error was caused by a fundamental code issue, something with my device settings, a network problem, or just a very unfortunate combination of all of the above. The solution seemed simple: I wanted to look up my session and see all the user interactions, networking and logging together to find out what caused my issue.

After talking with my friends at other mobile app companies, I knew I wasn’t alone. Things worked well in development, but we saw unexpected errors in production and we never had enough information to solve them. I wanted more than just a stack trace to help developers fix the problem, so my co-founder Fredric—who has now built three mobile analytics companies—and I started Embrace.

We've talked with many mobile developers and companies and we saw many common problems with apps, such as slow app starts resulting from too many blocking network calls on startup, and we have built the features into our platform to help solve these problems. We also saw processes that were more cumbersome than they needed to be. Often when developers had to fix an issue they would try to combine data from backend logs, different monitoring tools, and feedback from bug reporters to try to build a picture of what was going wrong, but in the end it still wasn’t enough. There was always that one log message that they realized they should have added and they had to wait another release cycle figuring out a fix for the issue.

You can add Embrace’s SDK to your app to start collecting the info I had been missing when building apps. We intercept network calls, track views, monitor CPU usage, capture crashes, and automatically collect many more metrics to provide developers with the context that they have told us helps them solve problems. Add logs and breadcrumbs that you define, and we are able to get you as close to replaying user sessions as possible without capturing video. You’ll be to see able to see the network calls before a failed purchase or whether or not the device was in low-power mode when it crashed.

We are fortunate to have 40+ customers already, including Wish, OkCupid, AllTrails, and Home Depot. We helped solve the 2nd largest, long-standing crash for Wish by providing their developers with context they were lacking. Developers for a subscription revenue app were able to identify that a critical network call did not occur as expected when users took a certain path through their app. The most recent customer I visited solved two bugs using info from our tool the day after they integrated.

We look forward to answering any questions you have and hearing what challenges you face with your mobile apps. We are free to use in development, so any feedback you have on the service would be much appreciated!

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andrey azimov by Andrey Azimov