Ljuba is a product designer, leader, and entrepreneur

I work with CEOs, startup founders, and design/product teams to level up their design practice and drive company success.
I’m a design generalist and tailor my approach to a company’s goals, growth stage, and customers. But my work is always collaborative, lean, and grounded in user empathy.
As the co-founder of two startups (one sold for $100M+), I bring a uniquely entrepreneurial and results-focused perspective to product design and strategy – because if it doesn’t ship, it doesn’t count.

Richie Serna: Co-founder & CEO, Finix
One of my biggest regrets as a founder was not building our product design function earlier. It kept me up at night – until we found Ljuba. He came in and completely transformed our business, changing the way we build and think about our products. If you’re looking to take your business to the next level, hire him.
I'm a product designer and tech nerd who loves bringing people together to do great things.
I'm excited by opportunities across industries, product types, and geographies (willing to relocate). What matters most to me is working with great people, interesting problems, and having a positive impact.

Work highlights

I’m so grateful to have gotten to work on a wide variety of products: consumer electronics, mobile apps, B2B web dashboards, developer platforms, and more. Some were at companies I co-founded. Others were at client companies where I embedded with the team.


The #1 voice AI concierge for restaurants (Series A startup)

  • Served as Head of Product & Design (Interim) for 8 months
  • Led the product development team to design, build, and ship a complete rethinking of Slang’s core product. Results: cut customer onboarding time by 10x, eliminated user error, and set the company up for rapid product iteration.
  • Co-created a cross-functional product development process that led to dramatically higher product velocity and team satisfaction.
  • Recruited and nurtured a top-notch design team, including a permanent head of design.

Gabe Duncan: Co-Founder & CTO, Slang.ai
"Ljuba always leans into what’s most important in every moment / conversation and doesn't shy away from difficult ones. He possesses an impressive verbal facility and reframes tricky discussions in ways that remove potential emotional threats. Even though he was a contractor for us, he worked is if he was a team member and exhibited the degree of passion and care you would expect from a founding member of the company.
Image for illustrative purposes only. This work was confidential.


Payments infrastructure powering modern SaaS platforms (Series B startup)

  • Served as Head of Design (Interim) for 13 months
  • Led a massive redesign of the Finix web app based on deep user research and design system principles. Results: dramatically improved customer satisfaction, sales efficacy, and product development velocity.
  • Successfully recruited and onboarded a permanent design team, including a head of design.
  • Guided the product management and engineering orgs in building a user-centered product development culture.
cameo screenshots
Screenshots for illustrative purposes only. This work was confidential.


Personalized celebrity shout-outs (Series C startup)

  • Completely redesigned the user authentication flow to simplify UX while adding support for social logins, passwordless login, and fraud detection.
  • Created a highly scalable bespoke design system to unify five growing lines of business.
  • Wrote the "design system guidelines", a living document to explain the “how and why” of the new system.
  • Founded the design+engineering squad to build, maintain, and socialized the system company-wide.
  • Mentored the design team through leadership transition.

Jake Allen: Director of Product, Cameo
"Ljuba's an incredible product thinker, designer, and executor. His experience as a founder and leader of product and design teams at high-growth startups makes him an invaluable resource. He's an empathetic and insightful leader, mentor, and contributor, and he continuously helped us to identify, clarify, and navigate difficult challenges as they emerged."


The first and best connected car product and platform

  • Co-founder and head of product, design, and marketing (at various times).
  • Created a design system to unify first party features, 3rd party apps, and partner integrations in a single app.
  • Despite its complexity and hundreds of screens, users raved about how simple the app feels.
  • Glowing press reviews, 4.5+ star App Store rating
  • Acquired for $100M+ by SiriusXM in 2017

Eric Horacek: Engineer, OpenAI (formerly at Automatic)
“The output of the design team led by Ljuba was always top-notch: fully fleshed out, systems-oriented, user-tested, and beautiful. This consistency was grounded in Ljuba's tireless advocacy for the user and strong adherence to the design principals he pioneered."


Local news, re-invented to help you get more involved

  • Co-founder and sole designer of a "from the ground up" reinvention of local news that facilitates civic participation.
  • Feature: Stories are organized into long-running guides that you subscribe to and get updated over time.
  • Feature: Priority goes to stories happening in your neighborhood to help you get involved.
  • Feature: Highlights relevant opportunities for volunteering and civic engagement.
Link to Youtube video of Hometown demo
Ljuba speaking

Speaking and Mentorship

  • Given 100+ talks on design, product management, and entrepreneurship.
  • Spent 5 months as entrepreneur-in-residence for an economic development NGO working in 6 Balkan countries.
  • Advised 200+ startups, VC's, incubators, universities, and professional groups.

Andrea Maron: CEO & Co-Founder, Ragtrades
"As my founder coach, Ljuba gave me the perspective and confidence I needed to see our challenges in a new light. His strategic and systematic way of thinking helped me form and execute on a plan of action that ultimately led to the successful sale of our business. I can't recommend him enough as a coach and all around wonderful human being!"

Ljuba Youngblom


Copyright © 2024 Ljuba Youngblom