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Inspirational Female Founder Spotlight: Diana Saarva

Diana Saarva is the Co-Founder and COO of Miros, a category-defining tech solution helping shoppers search less, but discover more. Finding hard-to-describe products in ways they can control. With over 15 years of hands-on experience building ecommerce startups, Diana has successfully covered roles that empowered digital retailers to thrive with efficiency and precision, ensuring positive consumer user journeys online.

Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?

At Miros we are leaders in online search and discovery, leveraging AI to interpret browsing behaviour, providing an intuitive, personalised shopping experience. We know that 9 out of 10 online shoppers find it difficult to find the desired products, and our ‘Wordless Search’ software helps retailers beat this statistic. Our AI captures the intent of each consumer, analysing subconscious actions like scrolling patterns, clicks, hesitations and product preferences. Overall, we provide a seamless personalised shopping experience – minus text queries or product metadata. Drawing from my previous experience as a co-founder at ventures like Fits.me, a pioneer in online changing rooms that Rakuten later acquired, Miros is another outlet to explore, adapt and discover e-commerce opportunities.

How did the idea come to you for the company?

Having been immersed in e-commerce for over a decade and a half, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing its evolution firsthand. The initial ideas for Miros took root with my tenure at Fits.me, where, together with my co-founders Heikki Haldre and Paul Pallin, I explored the intricacies of the e-commerce sector. It became apparent that traditional search engine technologies were outdated in helping customers navigate the extensive product catalogues available online. With less than 1% of a retailer’s inventory being seen by visitors, the need for a more intuitive solution was clear. This realisation fuelled the inception of Miros and its groundbreaking visual search capabilities, ushering in a new era of online retail where customers can effortlessly discover products without relying solely on words.

How did you achieve awareness? How have you been able to gain funding and grow?

Securing funding and driving growth for our venture has been a strategic journey. Initially self-funded with my co-founders, we validated our concept’s viability. Later, we attracted investors who shared our vision and offered expertise and resources. With VC-backed investments, our focus on reputable investors has fuelled our rapid growth. Demonstrating our potential with tangible results, we’ve cultivated strong investor relationships, securing resources to scale effectively.

What are the key successes?

Since its inception, Miros has achieved notable milestones, competing head-to-head with industry titans and emerging triumphant. Our ability to attract top talent, our dynamic leadership team and our compelling vision have been instrumental in our success. These accomplishments are complemented by acquiring a range of well-known international clients, including Revolve.com, momox fashion and PERCENTIL.

What are your plans for the future?

We’re focused on broadening our presence across Europe and globally, seeking partnerships with leading international e-commerce players. Currently, we’re engaged in promising discussions with major retailers worldwide, exploring opportunities to integrate Miros into their platforms and revolutionise the online shopping experience.

What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?

Drawing on my journey in entrepreneurship, I encourage others to embrace innovation and think outside the box. It’s essential to identify gaps or inefficiencies in existing markets and develop solutions that address these challenges. Surrounding yourself with a diverse team of talented individuals, like my co-founders, colleagues, mentors, and industry insiders, brings a fresh perspective and helps navigate the complexities of building a business. Additionally, staying resilient in the face of setbacks and continuously learning from both successes and failures is crucial for long-term growth and success. Ultimately, entrepreneurship is about taking calculated risks, pursuing your passions, and making a positive impact in the world.

Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?

Firstly, I would say engage in market research. Make sure that sufficient data, not assumptions, guide your product alignment. Don’t just find one statistic that supports your view and go with it, make sure you’ve researched from multiple angles. Another key piece of advice would be prioritising team dynamics as much as product perfection. A product will only succeed if the team behind it supports it and works collectively to create it. Finally, it is really important to be flexible. Learn from your journey, adapt swiftly to market feedback, be fearless in pivoting when needed, and do not stay stuck in the initial vision.

Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most and why?

I draw inspiration from the collective brilliance of the people I work with and my mentors. They bring diverse perspectives and a collaborative spirit that permeates our team. Every interaction, whether it’s with my co-founders, colleagues, mentors, or industry partners, offers valuable insights and sparks new ideas. This dynamic environment of continuous learning and growth fuels my passion and drives me to excel in everything I do.

What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?

Maya Angelou:  “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – A commitment to continuous improvement and learning. It encourages embracing growth and evolution, acknowledging that progress comes from ongoing education and refinement of one’s actions and decisions.

Grace Hopper: “The most damaging phrase in the language is: ‘It’s always been done that way.’” This quote encourages innovation and thinking outside the box, which should resonate with links to pioneering AI technology and reshaping the e-commerce landscape with Miros.

What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you?   

●      LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dianasaarva/

●      Miros website: https://miros.ai/