Kristel Kruustük was just 23 when she became disillusioned by how QA testers were treated. She came up with the idea of building a platform that would appreciate the work of testers and elevate the importance of QA within organisations.

She shared her idea with then-boyfriend, later-cofounder, now-husband Marko Kruustük and the two entered the world’s largest hackathon Angelhack. Together, they took home first place winning a $25,000 seed investment and their first paying customer.


What inspired you to start a business?

I started my career as a software tester during my second year of college, working on different crowdtesting platforms. That’s when I realised that these environments were not tester friendly. Testers’ time was undervalued. There was no teamwork; testers were pitted against each other and only the first to find bugs were rewarded. This was also harmful for the end-users. I wasn’t satisfied with the status quo and founded Testlio out of my own vision of how testing should be conducted.

What is the greatest challenge and the greatest reward in being your own boss? 

The responsibility of building a company from scratch is uniquely challenging. No one will build your company for you.

You are accountable for every decision made; the bigger the company the bigger the responsibility is. You want the entire company to be successful, not just yourself. What’s really rewarding is when things move in the right direction and the people around. You are happy, excited and motivated.

What motivational tips can you give to our members about goal setting and managing both successes and failures?

Have a clear vision, work towards it and don’t sweat the small setbacks on the way.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a business owner?
I’m constantly thinking about the unknown. Even with amazing employees, I can’t predict the future. I can only do my best in the moment.
How have you benefited from mentoring or coaching?

I was fortunate to have a really great friend and mentor in Pipedrive’s co-founder Ragnar Sass when I started out.

He gave us a lot of guidance and advice. He advised me to take part in the techstars accelerator in 2013, which was the best decision for Testlio at that phase. We made great connections there and acquired essential business skills that helped us build and grow Testlio.

What advice can you give about the benefits of networking?

Networking is extremely important especially when you start out and have to “sell” your company to others. Business is all about people, making connections and building long term relationships.

What are your tips for scaling a business and how do you plan for and manage growth? 

Scaling is a continuous process. You always have to be aware of what’s happening in your space – customers, competition and market dynamics. The end goal is to always offer the best service possible to your customers.

What does the future hold for you?

Great success for Testlio!  We’re helping companies build products their users love and providing meaningful career opportunities for testers around the world. We will change the way QA is done!