Alex Covic, Product Manager in Belgrade, Serbia
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Alex Covic

Verified Expert  in Product Management

Product Manager

Location
Belgrade, Serbia
Toptal Member Since
November 7, 2019

Alex is helping entrepreneurs, startups, SMBs and innovators build, launch and grow new web2 & web3 products since 2008. Companies he worked with raised 10s of millions, served 100s of thousands of happy customers and got aquired by market leaders. He specialises in early stage and getting products and companies from 0 to 1 using a customer centric and business focused approach.

Project Highlights

The International Water Association
Consulted a 10,000+ member organization through digital transformation and built 10+ web and mobile products in the process.
Water Statistics Platform
Led development of a tool that radically improves gathering, processing, and publishing of data on global water consumption.

Expertise

Work Experience

Digital Strategy Consultant

2022 - PRESENT
Football Club Red Star
  • Worked with the club leadership to define the overall business strategy.
  • Developed a roadmap for developing and implementing the club's internal and external digital resources.
  • Designed and scoped the club's internal customer data and relationships platform.
  • Built the customer experience journey and the customer-centric marketing strategy for the club's multimillion-strong fanbase.

Chief Product Officer

2022 - PRESENT
Veli
  • Collaborated with the founders to fine-tune the initial idea and define the value proposition.
  • Defined the customer segments through behavioral, psychographic, and demographic personas and their jobs to be done.
  • Conducted dozens of discovery user interviews to validate the initial hypotheses and discover new opportunities to create value.
  • Defined the product roadmap with the founding team, estimated the required effort and resources, and helped shape the investment deck.
  • Designed the user journeys and flows and worked with the UI designer to create development-ready UI designs.
  • Created functional prototypes and designed and conducted user testing sessions to improve the app's user experience.
  • Managed the product backlog, wrote user stories and feature-level tickets, and guided developers during sprints as a project owner.

Digital Product and Business Consultant

2018 - PRESENT
Untangle Digital
  • Led the development of digital products and services for startups, corporations, and NGOs, supporting them through the entire product lifecycle.
  • Conducted market and user research, discovery, and ideation to discover opportunities for innovation and growth. Designed and facilitated ideation and validation workshops and created and executed product development and go-to-market strategy.
  • Served as the product owner and manager responsible for translating business and user needs into product features. Played a key role in wireframing, user stories, and backlog management. Oversaw on-time and within-budget delivery of projects.
  • Hired and led remote distributed and in-house Agile product development teams of developers, designers, and marketers for clients' products.
  • Partnered with startups such as Scratchy, Taboozapp, and Evoality and corporations and organizations such as International Water Association, Societe Generale Bank, and WBCSD.

VP of Product

2020 - 2022
SAVOUR
  • Hired, onboarded, and managed the product team that took SAVOUR from the initial idea to launch on iOS and Android in less than three months.
  • Expanded the initial idea into a product development plan, including product and release roadmaps, backlog, personas, user journeys, and flows.
  • Led a product team of 15 members, including tech lead, design, development, QA, and DevOps, through 30+ concurrent releases on iOS and Android.
  • Collaborated with stakeholders and users to define and improve the product and company value propositions, customer segments, UX, marketing, and other key aspects of the business.
  • Maintained consistently a conversion rate of over 2.2% from all users to buyers.
  • Created and implemented the customer lifecycle marketing strategy that raised retention by over 70%.

Senior Product Consultant

2021 - 2021
BrainLuxury
  • Collaborated with senior executives to define the product value propositions, customer segments, marketing, and messaging and acquisition channels.
  • Conducted dozens of customer discovery interviews to discover their needs and match them with product benefits.
  • Created initial customer acquisition strategy based on matching multiple customer segments with dynamic landing pages tailored to their specific needs.
  • Developed a product development plan and sourced and hired a developer to deliver the product.

Founder and Chief Product Officer

2015 - 2019
Probe & Query
  • Founded a boutique web and mobile design and development agency and grew it from 0 to 15 employees in less than 18 months.
  • Formed and led in-house and distributed multidisciplinary teams of designers, developers, and managers.
  • Served as the chief product officer on products for clients like the World Health Organization, International Water Association, and De Watergroep.

Program Manager

2014 - 2016
ICT Hub
  • Created and delivered ICT Hub's startup acceleration programs.
  • Helped launch 10+ startups through the two 3-month-long batches of the acceleration program.
  • Organized and delivered workshops and events that helped hundreds of entrepreneurs and freelancers develop and improve their business, product, and go-to-market strategies.

Program Director

2013 - 2014
SEE ICT
  • Co-created the curriculum and led the second and third batches of the Startit Accelerator, the very first startup accelerator in Serbia.
  • Focused on the discovery, product development, and fundraising, defining the value proposition, business model, and MVP development and validation.
  • Oversaw teams that went through the program and have since raised over $5 million in investments and $20 million in revenue.

Innovation Consultant

2013 - 2013
Endava
  • Collaborated with the top management and the R&D department of a leading regional IT Company, PSTech, that was acquired by Endava.
  • Created new products that diversified the company's business model and encouraged internal innovation.
  • Led the discovery, ideation, and validation process and defined the business model, product, and go-to-market strategies for future products.
  • Helped establish the company's internal innovation pipeline, a structured process, and an internal tool for collecting and validating new product and service ideas.
  • Conducted a series of internal education workshops to empower employees and foster the innovation culture inside the company.

eCommerce Manager

2012 - 2013
M SAN Grupa
  • Overhauled the growth and acquisition strategy for ekupi.rs, the leading eCommerce platform in Southeast Europe at the time.
  • Created a new acquisition strategy to increase the number of buyers by 240%.
  • Lowered customer acquisition cost by 40% through better utilization of acquisition channels, including SEO and social and paid search.
  • Overhauled the product focus and acquisition strategy, increasing revenue by 60%.

Founder

2009 - 2011
PopBox
  • Headed all marketing and business development-related processes in Serbia's first in-text advertising startup, including initial conception, product development, team management, sales, and marketing.
  • Bootstrapped, built, and launched the product and closed several major local and regional publishers and advertisers.

Expansion Manager

2009 - 2010
Fortumo
  • Led Fortumo's expansion to several countries in Eastern, Southeastern, and Central Europe.
  • Conducted market and legislation research, service localization, negotiations with infrastructure providers, and other key figures in the respective markets.
  • Managed all of Fortumo's marketing activities in the Southeastern and Central European markets and participated in Fortumo's global marketing efforts.

Country Manager

2008 - 2008
Fortumo (acqiired by Boku)
  • Established, developed, and managed Fortumo's market entry and presence in Serbia.
  • Conducted market research, service and content localization, user acquisition, PR, marketing, and customer relations.
  • Developed an affiliate program that was later expanded globally.

Digital Workflow Optimization

Mapped out a highly-complex workflow for a top 5 global tech company. Formulated a roadmap and action plan for improvement.

In early 2020, Alex was asked to analyze and improve a digital publishing workflow centered around communications (email, content creation, and localization) that included a top 5 global tech company and several of their vendors.

The highly-complex process wasn’t very well documented and included a number of legacy tools and procedures.

Alex conducted 20+ hours of interviews to map out the workflow, recognize pain points in the process, and gather requirements. Based on those findings, he identified and prioritized the areas of improvement and translated those into:

- BPMN diagrams showing the current and future workflow states
- Backlog and roadmap for the future improvements to the workflow
- Time and cost estimations for the above
- Corresponding playbook and executive summary documentation illustrating the current and future workflows

Scratchy

Redefined the ideal customer and the value proposition of an existing product, increasing KPIs by over 200%.

Scratchy is the scratch card game that lets you play for real prizes from the brands you love.

At the same time, Scratchy is a powerful business intelligence tool that translates in-game interactions into customer insights for brands and retailers.

Brought in as a product consultant for an existing product - which at the time had 2.1 and 2.4 stars on App and Play Stores respectively.

Conducted ethnographic user research and to understand the users' needs, pain points and expectations. Translated the findings into a new value proposition and product strategy, and defined user stories, development goals, and a product roadmap.

Led the multidisciplinary product development team through several product increments, resulting in an increase of usage metric KPIs (sessions and interactions per user, time in-app, etc.) by over 200%.

Tabooz

Formed and led a distributed product development team to successfully launch an MVP. Pivoted to a more profitable market.

Tabooz is a safe digital space designed to foster mental health, identity, well-being, and confidence in youth by addressing cultural, social, and systemic taboos.

It's also a content platform that offers entertainment, storytelling, resources, information, and access to local support and helplines.

As a product consultant, I've formed and led an agile, distributed product development team through several product iterations, conducted customer discovery interviews to gain insights used to shape the product, and served as a touchpoint between the customer, the product team and various stakeholders.

The product had a limited launch at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada.

The learnings gained from the MVP launch and customer discovery resulted in a pivot and product being rebranded as Evoality - the personal evolution tool for businesses to provide employees with the knowledge, information, and resources to support diversity, inclusion, equality, and wellbeing.

The International Water Association

https://iwa-network.org/

Consulted a 10,000+ member organization through digital transformation and built 10+ web and mobile products in the process.

Alex was a product and digital transformation consultant for The International Water Association, a 10,000+ member strong traditional organization in the water sector.

During this time, he helped create and executed much of the strategy that completely overhauled many processes inside the organization, revamped and modernized their core offering, and created 10+ web and mobile products in the process. He also helped the organization diversify and open new revenue streams based on those products.

Highlights include:

— Helping The IWA transform their main offering and revenue source (yearly membership packages) to a SaaS product (https://iwa-connect.org/).

— IWA Learn, a professional development marketplace for the water sector that enables the organization to publish premium and free, online and offline educational programs.

— IWA Events, a web portal that lists and showcases best events in the sector,

— The Source Water Magazine, a web and mobile mag for the water sector.

Water Statistics Platform

https://iwa-network.org/water-statistics/

Led development of a tool that radically improves gathering, processing, and publishing of data on global water consumption.

Every two years, The International Water Association
collects data on water consumption from 200 cities and
prepares a comprehensive report on the water industry.

This took a lot of work using spreadsheets and email.

Alex was brought to solve this problem and come up with a solution that would make this process easier, faster, and less effort and resource-intensive.

He started by analyzing the data to and interviewing dozens of water industry researchers to understand their process and the issues that we're facing.

The effort resulted in waterstatistics.org - a data visualization platform that streamlines gathering, processing and publishing data on water from 39 countries and 198 cities.

WaterStatistic.org makes information on the global water consumption public and easily accessible. This helps the industry and government make better decisions while keeping the public informed.

Best part? Instead of waiting two years for the data to be gathered and processed and the report to get published, new data now becomes live almost in real-time.

IWA Learn Platform

https://iwa-network.org/iwa-learn/

Led product design and development of IWA Learn, a leading professional development platform in the water sector.

The International Water Association is a global non-profit organization and knowledge hub for the water sector. As the product and innovation consultant for The IWA, Alex was asked to help the organization's learning and capacity development department plan and execute the design and development of IWA Learn, a leading professional development platform for the water sector.

His responsibilities included user research and discovery to define the feature set, MVP backlog, and roadmap planning, as well as sourcing, hiring, and leading the design and development team that executed the project.

Today IWA Learn hosts over a hundred free and premium online and onsite professional development and learning opportunities and serves over 40,000 users every month.

The Source Water Magazine

Led the team that developed the web and mobile mag. Executed the growth strategy that resulted in 12,000 signups in 3 months.

The Source Water Magazine was a leading publication for water professionals that is distributed to the members of The International Water Association as one of the membership benefits.

As part of the organization’s digital transformation efforts I’ve consulted on, I’ve formed and led the team that developed the iOS, Android, and web versions of the magazine and integrated it with other IWA’s digital assets (membership community portal, the main website, etc).

Further, I’ve led the launch of the magazine and created and executed the growth strategy that resulted in 12,000 signups in 3 months and created a stable readership base that’s highly valuable for advertisers in the water sector.
2004 - 2006

Progress towards a Degree in Business Informatics and eBusiness

Belgrade Business Academy for Applied Studies - Belgrade, Serbia

2000 - 2003

Progress towards a Degree in Psychology

University of Belgrade, Faculty of Psychology - Belgrade, Serbia

Tools

Jira, Slack, Figma, MURAL

Industry Expertise

Digital Agencies, Sustainability, Telecommunications, Startup Accelerators, Marketplaces, Consumer Finance, Psychology & Mental Health, Health, Hospitality, Financial Services, Nonprofits, Venture Capital, Health & Wellness

Paradigms

Scrum, Agile, Agile Product Management, Agile Project Management, B2C, Agile Software Development, Key Performance Metrics, Design Thinking, Marketplace Platforms, Iterative Development, Requirements Analysis, Human-centered Design (HCD), Gamification, Quantitative Research, User Testing

Platforms

Shopify, Blockchain, Mixpanel

Other

Product Launch, Product Planning, Mentorship & Coaching, Presentations, Workshops, User Interviews, Customer Discovery, Project Estimation, Requirements, Project Planning, Roadmaps, Lean Startups, Customer Development, Customer Interviews, Product Management, Product Owner, Entrepreneurship, Business Development, Team Leadership, Product Roadmaps, Product Strategy, Startups, Web Platforms, Minimum Viable Product (MVP), Go-to-market Plans, B2B, Early-stage Startups, Innovation, Innovation Labs, Startup Consulting, User Research, User Flows, User Stories, Personas, User Needs, Validation, Feature Planning, Feature Roadmaps, Lean Experiments, Business Models, Business Modeling, Feature Prioritization, Stakeholder Interviews, Scope Management, Lean, Product Discovery, Discovery Workshops, Cost Estimation, Business Cases, Market Research, Market Research & Analysis, Competitor Analysis & Profiling, Business to Business (B2B), Checkout, Value Proposition, User Feedback, Business Model Canvas, Value Proposition Design, Innovation Workshops, Feasibility Studies, App Design, Product Requirements Documentation (PRD), User Validation Testing, Project Consultancy, New Product Development, Qualitative Research, Lean Product Manager, Product Strategy Consultant, Websites, UX Wireframes, Agile Sprints, Prototyping, UX Prototyping, Product Development, Digital Product Management, Digital Product Development, Product Delivery, Quantitative User Research, Digital Experience Design, System Requirements, Go-to-market Strategy, Project Timelines, MVP Design, Product Coach, Use Cases, Planning, Use Case Analysis, Team Mentoring, Web & Mobile Applications, Product Ownership, Data Analysis, Project Reporting, Sprint Planning, Process Automation, User Onboarding, Conceptualization, Loyalty Programs, Interviews, Survey Design, Strategy, Remote Team Leadership, Software Development, Marketing, Agile Coaching, Teaching, Facebook Ads, Data Visualization, Software as a Service (SaaS), Lucidchart, Distributed Team Management, Web Analytics, Mobile Payments, eCommerce, App Development, Business to Consumer (B2C), Product Growth, WordPress, User Experience (UX), Startup Funding, International Growth, Growth Strategy, Sales, eCommerce Platforms, Wireframing, Jobs to be Done (JTBD), Feature Analysis, Feature Backlog Prioritization, Backlog Grooming, Backlog Management, Stakeholder Management, Scope of Work, Project Management, Android, iOS, Web, Learning Management Systems (LMS), Negotiation, Management Consulting, Product Vision, Ideation Workshops, Workshop Facilitation, Market Segmentation, Estimations, Mobile Applications, Mobile Apps, Mobile App Development, Data Analytics, Data Reporting, Monetization, Monetization Models, Pitch Decks, Pitch Preparation, Fundraising, New Products, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Digital Marketing, Business Analysis, Revenue Strategy, Trading, Fintech, Training, Coaching, APIs, Cost Analysis, Product Design, UX Design, Web Design, Objectives & Key Results (OKRs), Design, User Interface (UI), Cryptocurrency Wallets, Technical Project Management, Mindfulness, Early-stage Funding, Investments, Agency, Product Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Business Strategy, Launch Strategy, Pricing Models, Platform Design, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency, Focus Groups, Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Experience, Workflow Tools, SaaS, Ideation, Mockups, Restaurants & Dining, Investor Presentations, Business, Email Marketing, Fulfillment, Drop Shipping, Story Mapping, Workflow, Workflow Analysis, Workflow Diagrams, User Workflows, UML, UML Diagrams, Flowcharts, Process Design, Process Analysis, Business Processes, Business Process Analysis, Business Process Modeling, Digital Marketing Strategy, Consumer Behavior, Customer Analysis, Customer Journeys, Customer Research, UX Research, Business Process Management (BPM), Business Process Optimization, ClickUp, Miro, Estimation & Planning, Crypto, Cryptocurrency, Web 3.0, Mobile UX, Analytics, eCommerce UX, Web App Development, Web Development, Mobile Development, User Journeys, Program Design, Facilitation, Education, Innovation Strategy, Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Sales Growth, Account Management, Advertising, IT Management, Customer Experience Management, CX Strategy, Squarespace

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