How a 27-Year-Old Tester from Estonia Is Tackling a $3.5 Trillion Industry

Kristel Kruustük was just 23 when she decided to change how quality assurance (QA) testers were treated. Together with her then-boyfriend (now cofounder and husband) Marko Kruustük, she built a platform designed to connect QA testers with companies without taking advantage of either. After winning a first-place $25,000 seed investment at the world’s largest hackathon, Angelhack, the two went into business as Testlio.

Today, Testlio’s customers include Microsoft, Lyft, Salesforce, CBS Interactive, Flipboard, Strava, and GoDaddy. Last year, they announced a $6.25M Series A for their freelance network of over 150 testers from 33 different countries who work across 36 different languages. Clearly, the company is doing well as it takes on the $3.5 trillion IT services market. The company currently has an engineering office in Estonia and headquarters in San Francisco.

Here’s Kristel Kruustük on how Testlio works, the challenges of growing a business, and what the future holds.

How did you come up with the idea for Testlio?

“I started working as a tester while I was in college. I signed up as a freelancer on on different crowdtesting platforms, and I saw firsthand that the current system wasn’t working well and there was room to drastically change how QA was done.


“Testers’ time wasn’t valued and teamwork wasn’t encouraged because pay was based on competition among testers. This was bad for end users, too. I took matters in my own hands Testlio was born.”

Could you sum up what the company does?

“Testlio helps companies uncover and fix issues before they release products to their customers. Our community of expert testers search our customers’ products and find bugs. Our end-to-end QA management platform connects customers with their testing team and provides reporting and integrates with their tools.

Our vision is to change the way QA is done. We believe that amazing customer experiences make companies successful and expert QA is essential to that success.”

How does the company’s freelance network work?

“Testers can sign up from anywhere around the globe. They are given practice test cycles to gauge their skills. If they our community test leads approve them, they get invited to join our community. Our Community team helps onboard them, keep them engaged and nurture them throughout their career.”

What unique challenges have you faced while growing the company? 

“Challenges are a constant in any entrepreneur’s life and I’ve had to grow a thick skin to deal with them. I did not have any management experience as a first-time founder. I hired a few people without clearly defining their roles and responsibilities early on, which proved difficult.”

What’s your five-year plan for Testlio’s future?

“We want to continue solving real pain points for our customers. QA is hard and we believe we have a way to help companies excel at it. Our community is vital to our success, so we would like to grow it and provide meaningful growth opportunities for testers worldwide.”

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Adam is a writer at and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for more than a decade. He was a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry, for which he was named a Digital Book World 2018 award finalist. His work has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect, and his art history book on 1970s sci-fi, 'Worlds Beyond Time,' is out from Abrams Books in July 2023. In the meantime, he's hunting down the latest news on VPNs, POS systems, and the future of tech.
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