This week we would like to introduce the wonderful people without whom Bird Buddy would not be possible! We are proud to say we have created a great team of experts and bird-lovers, and here is the down-low on us all.
It all started with an idea and a wish to take birdwatching to a whole new level. These guys came up with a smart bird feeder that would also identify the bird at the same time, and the rest, as they say, is history!
Franci is in charge of software development and has previously worked with the likes of Snap and Porsche on launching new products. He taught web design and development for seven years, and spent his childhood documenting local bird populations and loving it. Favorite bird: Eurasian magpie.
Industrial designer and hardware developer extraordinaire. He has worked at top consultancies and with Google as the design lead on Chromecast which went on to sell over 22 million units globally. He is part Native-American (his other name is Ma-Con-S-Squah which means Little Bear) and is currently restoring an 1845 farmhouse in Michigan. Favorite bird: northern flicker.
Žiga is in charge of product development, and this isn’t his first rodeo either! He has worked with really successful projects in the past, among others, My Talking Tom, a global mobile game hit with over 1 billion downloads. He crossed the Atlantic ocean on a sailboat and owns a dog. Favorite bird: European robin.
DEVELOPMENT AND ENGINEERING
Of course, this wonderful idea could not come to fruition without our developers and engineers who are creating the amazing features that Bird Buddy offers. We are excited to announce that we have selected a top tier, US-owned Contract Manufacturer that has integrated offshore facilities and a California-based engineering and development team. Working directly with a vertically integrated partner means that we gain efficiency in things like component sourcing, prototyping, testing, and design-for-manufacturing, and the fact that they are US-based is already proving extremely valuable because it enables clear communication and time zone alignments for meetings and quick feedback.
Mitja is in charge of developing the Bird Buddy app and we could not have a better person for the job. His past experiences include Prodajko, a location-based classifieds platform currently used by over 50,000 users a month, which he developed with a colleague. In 2015, he was also the Microsoft Imagine Cup world semi-finalist in the Innovation category. He plays guitar in a rock band and once ate pizza every single day for a whole month; he still loves it. Favorite bird: hummingbird.
Jan is the one who makes sure Bird Buddy can actually see there’s a bird in front of the camera and tell you which bird it is! He is the wizard in charge of artificial intelligence, machine learning and computer vision. He has developed a computer-vision-based bin picker trained purely on synthetic data. He is a trained gymnast, having trained for almost 20 years and enjoys Ricky Gervais’ podcast series. Favorite bird: eagle.
Tine is in charge of backend development or, in other words, all the stuff that goes on behind-the-scenes. He loves analog photography and reading cyberpunk novels. Favorite bird: kakapo.
DESIGN AND ILLUSTRATION
Bird Buddy and its app would not be as awesome as they are without its intuitive, user-friendly interface. We owe that to our wonderful team of designers and illustrators who keep it looking fly.
Romina has oodles of experience doing art direction and user experience design across both tech startups and several marquee tech unicorns such as Stellar.org, Outfit7, Databox, Xamarin, IPFS, Zemanta. She loves skiing and snowboarding but is afraid of heights; not that it stops her. She plays the zither and finished elementary music school. Favorite bird: common kingfisher.
Sara has worked for companies of all sizes, from start-ups to big players like Ericsson and has loved it every single time. She has always been afraid of heights until she decided to overcome her fear by going skydiving. Her husband, her daughter and her all share the same birthday. Favorite bird: parrot.
Our illustrator, Lea, helped create the puppets for an animated recap of Orange is the New Black that ended up winning the London-based agency a Golden Drum award. Although she rarely draws them in her personal work, she somehow keeps getting bird-related jobs, and has a papillon dog that passionately hates jays. Favorite bird: raven and kingfisher.
SOCIAL MEDIA AND COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT
Bird Buddy would not be where we are now without you guys, the wonderful community of bird-lovers that support our project. And our expert social media people are an integral part of our community.
Polona is the friendly voice at the other end of the line who is here to answer any and all of your questions and requests, because your feedback means the world to us (it also inspires us for our next product ideas). She learned to read and write English by reading Harry Potter because she was too impatient to wait for the Slovene translation. With the right yarn and hook, she can crochet a beanie and scarf set in under an hour. Favorite bird: blue tit, robin and blackbird.
Maiken is in charge of keeping you guys updated on what we are up to, as well as preparing interesting and informative bird-related posts for you to read on our social media. She dreams of one day being able to read classical texts in the original Latin and Ancient Greek, and likes to carve wooden spoons when she finds the time. Favorite bird: bearded reedling.
Sim is our writer and researcher in charge of the Bird Buddy blog. She knows the calls and songs of 72 bird species, and is currently renovating her Slovenian property with her wife and winging it. Favorite bird: shoebill.
Having a great product isn’t enough, people also need to see it! Our marketing team is here to make sure Bird Buddy reaches the right audience and birdwatching fans. You guys!
Beno has worked with the startup Omnipemf and helped them become one of the leading companies in their area. He loves analysing data and prefers news shows over movies. Favorite bird: European crested tit.
Rebeka formerly worked as product manager for a women’s health and wellness brand called Bellabeat and has since started her own company called Melon & Lime that makes pretty yoga gear. She is an art restorer by education and can say, “I want vegan food,” in Chinese. Favorite bird: long-eared owl.
LOGISTICS AND OPERATIONS
We are thrilled to say that Bird Buddy has received support from all corners of the world. But the finished product needs to make it to all of you lovely people and do so in one piece. Here is where this guy comes in handy!
Matija has previously worked as an industrial designer on three successful Kickstarter campaigns and has been a member of various startups. He grows olives and makes what is probably the best olive oil in the world. Favorite bird: seagull.
ORNITHOLOGY AND DOMAIN EXPERTISE
Bird Buddy is a product for bird lovers, but it is also as much a product for birds. That is why we are thrilled to have an expert on deck to make sure we do right by our feathered friends.
Tjaša is a geographer and conservation biologist, but her true passion are birds, especially owls. She has authored several scientific publications and has hands-on experience working in veterinary clinics and research retreats. Since 2018, she has been working at DOPPS – Birdlife Slovenia to prevent bird crime. Her favorite part of the day is nighttime when everything but the owls goes completely quiet. Favourite bird: Eurasian scops owl.
MEDIA & COMMS
When we started crowdfunding, our campaign blew up. We have our media and communications duo to thank for making sure information on Bird Buddy reaches the right people.
Caroline has been an environmentalist since forever, creating positive impact through PR and media. As her first job though, Caroline ran a wine bar near SoHo in London at the young age of 23 and got used to dealing with those who imbibed too much. She has an international powerboat license and loves pinball so much, she has an original Star Wars pinball machine from the 70s. Favorite bird: birds of prey and parrots.
Alex used to work in the entertainment industry. She worked on film and TV sets, red carpets and got to know a bunch of actors. She used to be a competitive figure skater and was on an episode of the TV show Wonder Years when she was a teenager. Favorite bird: chickadees.