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Interview with Kristel Kruustük – Founder and CEO of Testlio, an All-In-One QA platform

Recently, I’ve introduced you about uTest, a “go-to” source for freelance Testers to earn money. uTest is also considered as a pioneer in testing crowdsourcing model. While uTest and crowdsourcing do add values into the industry, crowdsourcing model has its own problem. More often it solves the “quantity” problem rather than “quality” problem. In this model, testers often have little to no (close) relationship with the product owner. As a result, testers often do not have the insight into the product they are working on and that may affect the quality of tester’s work.

I came across Testlio, an end-to-end QA platform that seems to be able to solve that problem. I also had a chance to interview Kristel Kruustük, Founder and CEO of Testlio, to have Kristel share about her and some insight of Testlio. So, if you’re looking for a QA partner for your company or you’re a tester who’s looking for a platform where you can earn extra money besides of your full-time job, you may see this post helpful.

Now, let’s get started.

Me: Hi Kristel, could you introduce a little bit about you, your background and the story behind Testlio?

 Kristel: I’m the founder and CEO of Testlio – an end-to-end QA management platform and community of expert testers that help businesses deliver amazing customer experiences.

My passion for testing started back in 2010, when I was in my second year of college – I was studying software development and got a job as a tester on the side. From that point onwards, I was just really passionate about testing and wanted to be the best I could be. So I moved out to London and got a job as a tester at a fintech company. To grow my skills even more, I was also freelancing on different crowdsourced testing platforms. Unfortunately, I quickly realized that there was no real sense of community and tester’s time was not appreciated. So I thought of ways of improving the processes and ended up participating in the AngelHack hackathon – where my partner Marko and I won a $25,000 seed investment to start Testlio. And the rest is history in the making 🙂


Me: It’s a great story. About Testlio, Testlio is claimed as “All-in- One” QA platform, could you elaborate a little bit more of that?

Kristel: We want to change the way QA is done through higher quality, faster delivery and stronger partnership. To do so, we partner with QA managers, product owners, and developers to elevate the status of QA in the companies we work with – we assemble a dedicated QA team from our vetted, experienced, and passionate tester community. Our platform seamlessly integrates into the tools that our clients use, connecting them with the team and enabling a high degree of visibility.

Me: I know Testlio is a testing company but what business model you are in? I mean you are an outsourcing or crowdsourcing company?

Kristel: We’re neither actually – we’re rather a marketplace with an outsourcing model. As opposed to crowdsourcing companies, we don’t throw a multitude of people on cases but we vet our testers and make sure we focus on quality.

Me: That’s interesting but what makes Testlio different from other companies providing the same services like you?

Kristel: From the get-go we built our model differently, focusing on quality, not quantity. We qualify our testers before we involve them in our platform and we incentivize them to collaborate together – there’s no direct competition, the focus is on providing value for our clients.

Me: If possible, could you share what kind of QA projects (such as manual/automation, bug finding/test case execution, etc.) and how testers will be involved in such projects?

Kristel: Our focus is mainly on manual functional exploratory testing. After our testers are qualified and accepted to our platform, they are added to the projects based on their skill-set and location. Once they’re added to the projects, they can perform different tasks from exploratory and regression testing to reporting issues and leading projects. After each test cycle, a test lead can leave feedback for other testers; additionally, our platform algorithm gives them automatically a rating as well based on their performance. Usually, the same testers are involved in the same projects – this way they get well acquainted with the software they are testing and are able to provide better feedback and services.

Me: That seems to be a solid model. Now, let’s be honest, how much testers can earn a month on average, a range is fine?

Kristel: We have testers that earn up to thousands of dollars in a month and are full-time freelance testers on our platform.

Me: Wow, that’s impressive. Are most of your testers working part-time or full-time?

Kristel: Most testers work part-time since Testlio gives them the opportunity to earn extra money on weekends and evenings, as well as gain more experience and knowledge by participating in our projects.

Me: Testlio seems to be a right fit for freelance testers. Is it difficult to become Testlio’s tester? What’s your requirement to become Testlio’s tester?

Kristel: We currently accept 3% of applicants to our qualified community, looking at their previous experience (at least 3 years) and passion for testing. With that said, we also have an open community where we accept a broader range of applicants based on their location and such.

Me: What are attributes of a great tester you look for?

Kristel: We look for knowledgeable, passionate, analytical and curious testers. I actually wrote a blog post recently about what separates great testers from the rest – that’s what I always look for in a tester.

Kristel: As with every other industry, Machine Learning and AI are starting to play a part in testing as well, but there is still some ways to go until companies can really benefit from it.

Me: 2018 has just started, what do you expect in 2018 for Testlio?

Kristel: Great things! Our product development will have new features that will benefit both our testers and customers. And of course, we hope to find more partners to work with.

Me: Now, let’s talk a bit about you, you have a cool hair, do you play rock or some sort :D?

Kristel: Thanks! Yes, I used to be in a rock band, I played bass guitar and used to be the lead singer in my college band. But this is now well in the past, nowadays I just listen to music 🙂

Me: It’s very interesting. I’m a rock fan too, so I may listen to your band before 🙂

Me: Now you’re CEO, which one you think is more difficult, leading a company or testing software?

Kristel: Every job role brings its own set of hardships… But I will say that in both cases the sense of responsibility is very strong – as a CEO you’re responsible for making sure that everything runs smoothly and your team is content, and as a tester, you’re also responsible for ensuring the product operates as expected for the end user/ customer.

Me: Well said, Kristel. I couldn’t agree more. Look like you are taking a lot of responsibilities, so how do you handle work-life balance? What would you often do when you get stressed at work?

Kristel: I usually decompress by riding my horse in the mornings – but now that I’m about to be a mom, I’ve had to put it on hold. I also play the piano, which helps me relax and express my creativity. In addition, I’ve recently taken up knitting which I find extremely relaxing after a long day.

Me: Those are very relaxing activities I can guess. It’s also good to hear that you’re about to be a mom. Congratulations to you!

Me: One last thing, so you’re Estonian, if I visited there, what food, places you would recommend me to try?

Kristel: For sure I’d recommend you to visit Telliskivi area and our office! But here’s a good list of restaurants/bars should you ever come this way:

  • Parrot Bar (food + drinks)
  • Frank Underground (drinks)
  • Tuljak (cool atmosphere, great for dinner)
  • NOP (the best Breakfast place in town)
  • Faehlmanni kohvik (Breakfast)
  • Restoran Pegasus (great for dinner)
  • Rae Meierei (I haven’t been there yet, but I’ve heard it’s great for snacks, drinks)
  • Restoran Farm (dinner)
  • Botaanik Bar (drinks)

Me: It’s a great list. I’ll definitely revisit this list when I had a chance to visit Estonia :D.

So, thank you, Kristel, so much for your sharing about you and Testlio. I wish you and Testlio have all the success in 2018.

For those who’d like to be part of Testlio’s tester community and start earning money as freelance tester, give Testlio a try

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Interview with Kristel Kruustük – Founder and CEO of Testlio, an All-In-One QA platform


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