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Katana hits 100 employees and launches mentorship initiative for fast-scaling startups

April 5, 2022
6 min read
James Humphreys

James Humphreys

Senior Content Manager

We are proud to announce that we have recently reached an important milestone in our growth – 100 team members across four continents! 

Four years ago, we welcomed our first paying customers with a team of 10 people. The years that followed mark a period of fast growth, where we quickly evolved alongside those very first believers in our vision. During this time, we have tirelessly worked to improve our product offering and give manufacturers the live insights they need in a world where change is the only constant. 

From a handful of companies in the US, our portfolio of customers now spans over 60 countries. Katana is also considered one of the most desirable start-ups among Estonian investors, according to Restart, an annual survey conducted by Geenius Media. We are humbled to also see our efforts recognized by our customers and partners through stellar reviews that rank us as best-in-class manufacturing software. 

How we did it — a company culture that puts authenticity first

Today, Katana is the only manufacturing ERP selected as a Shopify Plus certified partner and raised €16 million from leading global VC investors who, like us, think the manufacturing software space needs more love. But at the heart of every success story are people. 

Katana wouldn’t be what it is today without its growing team of Katanauts across North America, Europe, Oceania, and Asia. While our team comes from a diverse range of professional and cultural backgrounds, what they all have in common are a set of shared values that are rooted in putting the needs of individuals first — both our customers and our own. 

In short, what sets Katana’s team apart is a company culture that puts authenticity first.  

“Fast growth is both exciting and challenging for a start-up team. Growing mindfully has been our top priority from the very beginning. We didn’t want to compromise our people’s health and wellbeing or lose our strong company culture, and I am so proud to see today that we have managed to do it successfully.  

Every new Katanaut has brought in something new to our culture that has enriched the core of who we are as a team – a smart, caring, humble, and fun-loving bunch of people on a mission to create software that our customers would love as much as the products they make.”

Kristi Schumann, Head of People and Culture at Katana

Katana team members

Giving back to the startup community 

On our journey to 100 Katanauts, we managed to recruit some of the brightest minds in Estonia and beyond, which was no easy feat. Our team faced many challenges along the way, and understand just how difficult it can be to scale a team and vision — which is why we are giving startups in our community the opportunity to learn from our experience. 

“Our recent achievement of 100 team members had us reflect on our journey so far. We, at Katana, appreciate the help we’ve got along the way and I, personally, had the pleasure of getting good advice from entrepreneurs who walked the path we’re walking, including Sten Tamkivi, Sergei Anikin, Kairi Pauskar, and Allan Martinson, to name a few.  

Now, we feel that it’s our turn to give back to the Estonian startup community. We have a great team of talented people at Katana who want to contribute by offering their time and expertise to help other startups on their growth journey to 100 team members.”   

– Kristjan Vilosius, Co-founder and CEO at Katana 

Donating 100 hours of mentorship

Several members of our team have volunteered as mentors to give startups on their journey to 100 teammates guidance across a range of topics from rebranding to fundraising. This mentorship initiative is designed for Estonian-based startups who also have global reach and plans to expand beyond their home base. Considering the wealth of experience of our team in the manufacturing and SaaS fields, applicants in a similar space would benefit most.  

Besides growing Katana into what it is today, our mentors have experience scaling globally-recognized Estonian startups like Pipedrive, Veriff, Skype, Wise, Playtech. Learn more about the program and take a look at our Katana mentors here. 

What’s next for Katana? 

Today, Katana is the leading platform for growing manufacturers, giving them the features they need to manage hundreds of millions in revenue and worldwide operations. To reach our next milestone, expanding our customer reach to larger manufacturers, we need to continue evolving Katana as a product, meaning our team will experience even more growth in the near future. Reaching our first goal of 100 teammates was a big moment in Katana’s journey, and with the help of our VC investors and growing community of partners and customers, we’re already well on our way to the next one. 

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