FRANKFURT (Reuters) - A little-known Austrian software company is looking to snatch business from established players HP Enterprise (HPE) and IBM in the market for software testing tools, after raising $165 million from a U.S. private equity firm.

Tricentis, founded in Vienna in 2009 and now headquartered in the Silicon Valley town of Los Altos, has emerged as a leader in automating how big businesses test and deploy software, despite having raised little outside funding previously.

On Monday, the company said it will receive $165 million in financing from Insight Venture Partners, a software-focused private equity firm based in New York.

Previously, Tricentis relied on "bootstrap" funding from its own operations and had taken only one outside financing round, a $9 million early-stage investment from Frankfurt-based venture firm Viewpoint, now part of Kennet Partners, in 2012.

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As part its investment, Insight bought out Kennet's stake in Tricentis and is now its sole outside shareholder. Pacific Crest Securities acted as financial advisor to Tricentis, it said.

The company, which counts 120 employees in Vienna, 25 in the United States and roughly another 120 employees around the world, is looking to use its new financial backing to dramatically boost its sales efforts in the U.S. market, where it employed just five sales people, CEO Sandeep Johri said.

"We can take Tricentis into becoming a global company," Johri told Reuters. "We have all the ingredients to really scale it."

The company currently counts more than 400 corporate and government customers concentrated in Central Europe, the United States, Australia and India. They include Allianz, BMW, Starbucks, Deutsche Bank, Orange, Toyota and UBS.

Tricentis ranks as the leader in software test automation by research firms Gartner and Forrester, a market where it has made in-roads against established players HPE, IBM, and a variety of start-ups by taking a highly automated approach to testing in contrast to older script-based approaches of rivals, Johri said.

Demand for Tricentis tools is being propelled by the wider shift to "agile" programing techniques where software developers at big companies rely on small, informal teams and rapid development cycles to deliver software more efficiently.

Broadly speaking, the global software testing market is estimated to generate $34 billion in 2017, according to market research firm Nelson Hall. Companies such as HPE and IBM hold big chunks of this market with software testing lines that boast broad product offerings, but also date back up to 20 years.

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By focusing on automating up to 90 percent of the work of software testing, Johri said Tricentis can take market share from more manual testing approaches of rivals, in what he says is a multi-billion-dollar slice of the software testing market.

(Reporting By Eric Auchard; Editing by Susan Fenton)