RALEIGH – Less than a year after graduating from Techstars Kansas City Accelerator, MuukLabs has landed $750,000 in convertible notes.

The Raleigh-based startup, which offers a no-code test automation platform powered by artificial intelligence, is now getting ready to scale.

NY-based Contour Venture Partners led the round.

“As an immigrant from Mexico, I’m experiencing firsthand what makes the United States the land of opportunity,” said its co-founder Ivan Barajas Vargas.

He added that Techstars was “key” to securing this investment.

“After our demo day, we engaged with a dozen of investors interested in MuukLabs, and one of them was Contour.”

The milestone is the latest in a string of achievements for the startup.

It recently secured a $256,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

That’s on top of a $120,000 investment from Techstars, bringing total funding to $1.25 million to date.

“We have enough funding so we can just put our heads down and execute pretty well during the next 18 to 24 months,” Vargas says.

An entrepreneur’s journey

Originally from Tecalitlan, Mexico, Vargas, a software tester, arrived in Raleigh back in 2011 to work for EMC, now Dell EMC.

Around that time, he received a master’s degree in business at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler. During that time, he learned about entrepreneurship and began to realize all the problems that software quality assurance had.

“Renan Ugalde, my co-founder, and I started talking about what to do about these opportunities and we decided to launch MuukLabs,” he says.

The company launched its first commercial version, MuukTest, in 2019. It’s the “first and only” quality assurance acceleration platform, the company says, designed to make every software tester “20-times faster.”

Earlier this year, it launched its latest iteration, Muuk Effortless, which includes a new user interface “to make the experience of our users easier and speed up their test automation even more.”

The company is also working on its next iteration, Muuk +, which includes selected tools from its current platform re-engineered to solve pains in existing test automation environments, like Selenium.

“The new funding will be used to expand our engineering team and bring faster to market our next iteration,” Vargas said.

MuukLabs currently has seven full-time employees and four interns, all working remotely.

“With Muuk Effortless and Muuk +, we will keep adding new users and companies to our platform, which will benefit our AI development, and also get us closer to product-market-fit,” Vargas says.

“As one good friend entrepreneur from Raleigh says, ‘Product-market-fit could constantly be shifting, so the building and learning never ends.’”

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