I’m happy to announce that Otto "Mutru" Hilska is joining the growing Smartly.io team as VP of Engineering. I’ve known him since the first Aaltoes Silicon Valley trip, when Otto was still the founder and CEO of a SaaS startup called Flowdock.
Otto brings to the table a ton of software development and leadership experience. At Flowdock he has built one of the best product development teams in Finland, and now he gets to build and coach the development team at Smartly.io.
We’ve worked with Otto on several occasions before, as he’s been helping the team with a variety of things, ranging from MongoDB cluster configuration to our migration to microservices architecture.
A startup guy at heart
Otto’s first experience with startups was in high school: he was the first employee at a startup focusing on facility access and security systems. He got to write web software in C++, and worked with an offshore development team.
Already before enrolling in university, Otto co-founded a software consultancy called Nodeta, and worked there as the CTO. Antti Tuisku, a Finnish pop singer, was actually Nodeta’s first paying customer, but Otto also became one of the most experienced Ruby on Rails developers in Finland, having worked with it actively since 2005.
In 2011, the team communication app Flowdock was spun off from Nodeta. Otto moved to San Francisco, and raised money from some of the Valley’s top investors. We here at Smartly are happy Flowdock customers, and as a result we don’t send a single email internally. Everything from development processes and ChatOps to our CRM is connected to Flowdock.
Flowdock was acquired by Rally Software in 2013, and he managed the team collaboration products at Rally for two years before joining Smartly.io – first as an investor, and now as the VP of Engineering.
Outside of Smartly.io, Otto is also a board member at Startup Sauna foundation and a coach at the Startup Sauna accelerator.
Joining Smartly.io instead of starting his next company
Otto was planning to finish his degree at Aalto University and start his next company after leaving Rally, but he says he got too excited about Smartly.io’s super-fast growth and the great team. He also liked the fact that we’re an extremely product-driven company, where the engineering team has a big impact on the bottom line.
Currently, Otto’s mission is to bring our development team to the next level. At the moment the development team is nearing 20 people, and the last three people were hired within the last month.
For anyone thinking of starting their own business, Otto recommends also checking out a truly well-run startup. In fact, we’re hiring software developers (full-stack, back-end / devops, front-end), technical account managers, account managers and business development managers.