Present in 200 cities, Startup Grind is a Google powered million-strong community of entrepreneurs. It got there by organizing intimate, local events with a hundred attendees, one speaker, and a single host. Each event is an hour-long conversation. One that offers hands-on insight, personal stories, and a chance to ask questions from folks who have failed, and made it.
On the 31st of May at 6 pm at LIFT99, Startup Grind Tallinn will host Kristel Kruustük from Testlio. We are going to explore Kristel’s journey from Kose, a small Estonian Parish to founding Testlio, and how she together with her husband Marko, turned it from an AngelHack project into one of the fastest growing testing companies in the region. We will touch upon the topic of QA testing and her role as a leader. Kristel will share her key insights into growing revenue and hiring top people.
Before participating at AngelHack and founding Testlio Kristel was part of a small software development boutique, testing software for Estravel and a mentoring app. After which she joined Proekspert, a leading software development firm. There she was working with a team handling software for Telia Sonera. Besides testing, she is also a happy horse owner and loves sci-fi movies.
To bring Kristel’s insights into relief, we brought in Fundwise co-founder Gleb Maltsev as our host. As a seasoned pitching coach, it’s safe to say Gleb knows a thing or two about how to tell a compelling founder story and how to make sure the burning questions that surround those stories get asked —everything from the value of testing, to practical challenges of leading a high-performance team, or achieving sustainable growth in revenue.
The event is about making friends, not contacts. For this reason, there will be plenty of wine, beer and food.
06:00 PM - Check-in and Registration
06:15 PM - Networking, food and drinks with the greatest community members
07:00 PM - Fireside Chat with Kristel Kruustük
08:00 PM - Networking. Remember we make friends, not contacts
The event is supported by SendGrid and their Startup Accelerate Program.
Startup Grind is the largest independent startup community, actively educating, inspiring, and connecting 1,000,000 entrepreneurs in over 200 cities. We nurture startup ecosystems in 98 countries through events, media, and partnerships with organizations like Google for Entrepreneurs. The cornerstone of Startup Grind global community are monthly events featuring successful local founders, innovators, educators and investors who share lessons learned on the road to building great companies. Founded in Silicon Valley, Startup Grind has now hosted 5,000 fireside chats since its founding in 2010. To date, Startup Grind has helped millions of entrepreneurs find mentorship, connect to partners and hires, pursue funding, and reach new users.
Having worked as a tester herself, and become disillusioned by how testers were treated by big app-building companies, she came up with the idea of building a platform that would actually appreciate the work of a tester – Testlio, a company of which Founder and CEO Kristel is. What it's like to run a company of her own and how she's made it that far – it´s a talk worth listening to.
No matter where she goes, Kristel Kruustük (27), until recently known as Kristel Viidik, the cofounder of Testlio, is likely to stand out in a crowd. ‘No matter what my last name may be, everyone will always know me as Kristel, the girl with big hair,’ she laughs and adds that a key to success is never to worry about what others might think of you.
Of course, it’s not just the hair but her shiny personality, can-do attitude and, above all, her crazy ideas that simply cannot go unnoticed. Having worked as a tester herself, and become disillusioned by how testers were treated by big app-building companies, in 2012 she came up with the idea of building a platform that would actually appreciate the work of a tester − if you find a critical mistake and draw attention to it, you are also likely to be motivated to fix it − thereby providing development teams with quality-assurance (QA) testers.
She shared her thoughts with her then-boyfriend Marko Kruustük, later her cofounder and, for almost a month at the time of writing, also her husband, and the two signed up for a London-based event, Angelhack. They made it to the top three and were flown to San Francisco for the finals, where they won the global hackathon with a seed investment of $25 000 and a first paying customer.
That first customer was Kevin, a person that made such a lasting impression that he earned his own poster on Testlio’s wall: ‘What Would Kevin Do?’.
‘I’ve never seen a more intense person in my life,’ Kristel explains the story behind the poster. Kevin, a founder of a company that was later acquired by Microsoft, different units of which make up Testlio’s core customer, had a very precise vision of what he was after. Testlio really wanted to impress their first big customer so they worked nonstop over the span of three months, and eventually Kevin admitted that they had done a much better job than their main competitor: ‘He really helped us to form our product so now we always ask what Kevin would do to reach our goals,’ says Kristel.
And on the subject of their goals, Testlio’s current aim is to become a world leader in mobile apps testing. ‘Currently we are more of a high end and a high touch product. As this business model has justified itself we can reconsider our pricing policy,’ Kristel concludes. What next? ‘We will tackle the issues once they are in front of us,’ she shrugs while giving a big smile.
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