Tech Talks: Kristel Kruustük Founder & CEO of Testlio

Tech Talks: Kristel Kruustük Founder & CEO of Testlio 657 404 C-Suite Network
Tech Talks: Kristel Kruustük Founder & CEO of Testlio

Meet Kristel Kruustük, a one-time software tester who is leading innovative tech company Testlio into uncharted waters.

Emma Wheaton has worked as a magazine journalist and editor for a variety of print and digital publications covering business, lifestyle, design and travel for the past 10 years. Born and raised in Sydney, she is now living in Stockholm where she is the Features Editor – Europe for The CEO Magazine.

What would most 23-year-olds do if they felt disillusioned at work? Change jobs? Speak with their boss? Moan to their friends? Or perhaps they would challenge certain issues within the industry they love by building their own tech platform and launching a company.

Working as a software tester during college, Kristel Kruustük found the work environment wasn’t tester-friendly – as testers, their time wasn’t valued, pay was based on competition between colleagues, and teamwork was not encouraged. Notably, these issues also affected the end user too.

With a team-first mentality and a passion to build a platform that would change the way software quality assurance is done, the idea for Testlio was born. Co-founding the company with her now husband, Marko Kruustük, the pair entered the world’s largest hackathon, ‘AngelHack’, securing first place, a US$25,000 seed investment, and their first paying customer.

Kristel Kruustuk
Kristel & Marko Kruustük, co-founders of Testlio

The company has been profitable from day one and now works with the likes of Microsoft, Lyft, Salesforce, CBS Interactive and Flipboard. In 2016, it announced its US$6.25-million Series A funding – cementing its place in the US$3.5-trillion global IT services market.

In just 4 short years, under the leadership of the admittedly inexperienced Kristel, Testlio has grown into a thriving business with an office in Estonia and headquarters in the US. Women and minorities make up more than 50% of Testlio’s employees – a fact that stands out all the more in the tech industry.

Here, Kristel reveals what makes Testlio tick.

The CEO Magazine: Do you think your age was an advantage or a disadvantage when founding Testlio?

Kristel: It was both. I was hungry for success, and didn’t know what was waiting up ahead. If I had known how difficult entrepreneurship was, I might not have embarked on this journey.

Now I’m committed and determined to see it through and make Testlio a success. One disadvantage was not having any significant management experience and not defining clear roles and responsibilities for some key positions in the early stages.

Kristel Kruustuk
Kristel Kruustük, Founder & CEO…