Meet our Premium Member Miljan Vranic – Founder and CEO of Design Defender
Please tell us about Design Defender.
Design Defender is a search engine for architects and interior designers. It is the place where they can go discover products and materials that fit projects they are currently working on. We collect, categorize and enhance product information on a regular basis, so that architects can have a single place with all relevant and up to date information. Design Defender is a tech company heavily relying on modern IT technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), advanced search techniques, and data management approaches to deliver unparalleled experience for our users. At the same time, we are ad-free and focused on privacy, hence we are not selling our visitors data in any possible way.
Tell us more about your plans for 2023. What is your long-term vision?
Design Defender is a bootstrapped project financed by our own resources so far. We managed to achieve several milestones and prove concepts on which we want to further base our development. Our medium-term plans are to attract investors with a shared vision to fulfill our mission of becoming the search engine for architecture. Another goal for 2023 is to strengthen our technology in terms of speed and better global accessibility, as well as wider usage of AI in providing higher quality of search results together with user-friendly search engines.
What has been the biggest success that you have achieved in your startup?
I am proud of the fact that we managed to establish an organization that is lean in its nature. We do not try to resolve problems by throwing more resources on it, more people, more hours or quantity of any kind. We always give our best to think about how to efficiently resolve obstacles and create sustainable solutions. We love technology and I think the best side of it is to keep potentially repetitive manual work on the lowest possible levels. While it sounds reasonable and natural, it is a daily job to keep things that way and block short-cut solutions that could resolve problems at hand quickly, but generate a lot more headaches down the road.
If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently? What are your biggest learnings?
We are still in early phases and there are no significant regrets so far. We are making mistakes on a daily basis, but as far as we learn from them they are good things. There are some tech solutions that I will avoid in the future, but not because they are bad in nature, it is only personal or team preference.
What motivates you to continue your business every day?
The question of motivation is at the core of everything we do. For me the main motivator in all things is freedom. I like to be free to try and do things in a way that I see appropriate for the given situation. I try to give freedom to the members of my team to express their freedom in things they do. On the other hand we should never mix up freedom with chaos. I am talking about freedom like the one we can see in Mathematics. I have always liked Mathematics and subsequently computer programming because of the fact that you are free to come to the solution through the path you mostly like, as long as you respect generally accepted rules of the given field. By developing my own business my feeling of freedom is most fulfilled and that is a great daily motivation.
One piece of advice for someone who is just starting out with their startup?
Beware of cheap advice! At every corner of the real or virtual world we are overwhelmed with people giving advice. On the other hand they are rarely willing to take the time and truly understand the position of another person before saying something. Those are cheap advisers. We should never forget that every single one of us is a unique person with unique experience, knowledge, and feelings. Many other people were in similar situations as we are, but no one ever has been nearly in the same position as anyone else.
What does it mean to you to be a member of the Swiss Startup Association?
As an expat, I see the Swiss Startup Association as a great vehicle for connections between people of similar or compatible interests and goals, especially for those of us without natural roots and relations in Switzerland.
Would you recommend joining the Swiss Startup Association?
Knowledge that is shared inside of Swiss Startup Association and opportunities to meet other businesses, founders, investors, experienced and successful entrepreneurs, were great reasons for me to join and I will gladly recommend it to others as I have only positive feelings about everything related to SSA.
Is there anything that we haven’t asked you that you would like to share with us/the community?
I would like to use this opportunity to announce that Design Defender created a limited supply of free memberships for manufacturers of wonderful interior design products. In order to popularize our search engine we are inviting manufacturers to apply for a free account. We are taking a first come first served approach, so contact us ASAP through our website to apply for free membership and expose your products to a greater number of interior architects.
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