About us

The story behind Katana

Manufacturers bring ideas to life, combining raw materials to create products greater than the sum of their parts. And at Katana, our vision is a world where they love the software they use as much as the products they make.

While our founders knew each other for years, what brought them together was a shared belief that no industry should be left behind in the digital age. Products are no longer being made in factories far away, and businesses are bringing their production closer to consumers using a mix of D2C and B2B sales channels. These modern-day manufacturers are evolving beyond old-school mass manufacturing and need an operating system that does the same.

Meet our founders: Kristjan, Priit, and Hannes

Kristjan was always intrigued by the power of technology. Besides being the CEO of one of the largest investment firms in Estonia, he had been an angel investor for nearly a decade in technology and manufacturing.

Meanwhile, Priit led technology development at software giants like Skype, Microsoft, and Playtech for decades. And Hannes, Kristjan’s long-time business partner, had already been running his analytics consultancy firm for years.

As childhood friends, Kristjan and Priit always knew that they would found a company together one day, and that day was approaching fast. Like them, Hannes was on the lookout for a new challenge to take on with the right team after selling his business. All they were missing was the right idea.

From idea to prototype to live product

Big things always start small.

Before a single line of code was written, Kristjan and Priit raised $700,000 from investors with a 10-slide presentation in April 2017. Shortly after, Hannes was brought on board as a third founder to scale operations and help build Katana’s first team. With the help of two developers and a designer, they built the very first prototype a month later. And by the end of the year, Katana went live, and we welcomed our first paying customers within the first quarter of 2018.

In the months that followed, we quickly evolved alongside those very first believers in our vision. Their love for our product shaped Katana into what it is today, and as they grew their teams and expanded their reach over the years, so did we. Katana went from an inventory management tool to an end-to-end solution that connects to the world’s leading business tools and platforms. And from a handful of companies in the US, our portfolio of customers now spans over 80 countries and counting.

But at the heart of it all is a growing team of Katanauts across North America and Europe and a company culture that puts authenticity first.

Where we are now

Our strategy has been, and always will be, thinking like a maker. Every product development discussion and company meeting is guided by feedback from the people we’re here to help.

Today, Katana is the only manufacturing ERP selected as a Shopify Plus certified partner and raised $51 million from leading global VC investors who, like us, think our industry needs more love. To us, that love is all about taking the pressure off manufacturers. We do this with top-tier customer support, easy onboarding, and business software that lifts you up instead of holding you back.

What’s next for Katana

To help manufacturers manage hundreds of millions in revenue and worldwide operations, we continuously evolve our product and expand our team to stay one step ahead of their needs.

Whether it’s 50 or 5,000 orders a day, getting an overview of your product-making business shouldn’t be a pain. And with the help of our growing list of partners and active community of customers, the future’s looking bright.

The story behind the name

Lean manufacturing principles originate from the Toyota Production System (TPS), a philosophy developed by Toyota between 1948 and 1975 that has shaped how modern manufacturers work. The name Katana and our logomark with the circle of the sun are a tribute to these Japanese roots. And at Katana, we take the same lean approach to build software our customers love.