Testlio Returns To Its Austin Roots (With A Twist)

Four senior hires help fuel growth; distributed team powers global operational model

May 15, 2019, Austin, TX — Testlio, the leader in managed QA services for global-scale consumer apps, has been connected to Austin since its earliest days. With four senior hires, it is recommitting to Austin—with a new distributed team twist.

  • Gabe Dennison, Head of Sales (x-Oracle, OutboundEngine)
  • Tim Ryan, Marketing Director (x-YouEarnedIt/Kazoo, Dell)
  • Taylor McKenna, Account Director (x-Spredfast, HomeAway/Vrbo)

Austin has always been a special place for Testlio. In 2013, Testlio was hatched at the first Austin Techstars Accelerator, led by then MD Jason Seats. “Testlio felt special to me from the moment I met the cofounders,” said Seats.

Numerous Texas investors participated in the Testlio seed round in 2014, including Don Douglas (MD of Geekdom Fund), Pat Matthews (CEO of Active Capital), Rob Taylor (CEO of Convey) and now CEO Steve Semelsberger (founder of Alder Growth Partners). “We were excited to support Testlio early on,” said Douglas of Geekdom Fund.

“San Francisco was an alluring place for Testlio,” said Cofounder & COO, Marko Kruustük. Over the next two years, Testlio constructed sales, marketing and services teams in downtown San Francisco.

A SF presence helped fuel early growth. But as Testlio expanded, the company realized that it could better serve customers, attract great people, and create exceptional employee experiences with a modern, distributed operational model.  

Adopting a new model also made sense because Testlio is different from many companies. First, it’s cofounders are from Tallinn, Estonia, the birthplace of technology powerhouses like Skype. Today more than half of Testlio’s 65 employees are based in Estonia. Second, Testlio manages a global expert QA community of 15,000+ pros, located in 100+ countries and working in more than 100 languages. Third, Testlio’s unique combination of software and people enables highly burstable functional, regression, localization, automation, usability and other testing services—around the clock for some of the world’s largest and most demanding consumer app providers.

In early 2019, Testlio officially shifted to a distributed US operational model. All US employees now work out of their home offices and/or co-working spaces with “clusters” of employees in Northern California, Southern California, and Central Texas (along with employees from Boston to Seattle—and multiple places in-between).

“I’ve been working out of my home for five years,” said Testlio CEO Steve Semelsberger. “I love it. With a distributed US team, we now empower and hire great people in multiple locations. At the same time, it’s great to have clusters, like Austin, where people can regularly get together, socially and professionally.”

Testlio’s primary investors, Vertex Ventures and Altos Ventures, while based in Silicon Valley, have been highly supportive of this move. Plus, the savings from no longer maintaining an office in San Francisco helps keep operating costs low—benefiting customers—and opens up other opportunities. For example, the entire US team spent two days together in Sonoma, CA in April. In August, everyone will go to Tallinn, Estonia for a week of collective company learning and bonding.

“We’re honored to work with amazing clients and incredible testers all over the world,” stated Cofounder & Chief Testing Officer, Kristel Kruustük. “Everything that we do to help our people be happy and productive, and keep our costs low, is meant to serve our clients and our testers.”

And yes, many of these roles can be based in Austin. “I couldn’t think of anywhere else to live and work than Austin,” said Gabe Dennison, Testlio’s new Head of Sales. “I’m thrilled to serve Testlio and our clients from here.”