We talked to Dragan Tupaic of Liquid Metal Sound on how they are developing the next generation of sound speakers and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Dragan Tupaic: Thank you for asking. We are enjoying the slower pace of the winter season on Croatian island Korcula, anticipating the Christmas days to come, grateful that we are all together, well and sound so far.
Being isolated by the nature of living on an island makes it easier to adhere to social distancing rules and all other rules to navigate these strange COVID-19 times. I am lucky and grateful to have more time and peace to think and work on developing Liquid Metal Sound in this ‘slowdown.’
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Liquid Metal Sound.
Dragan Tupaic: I was born and raised on the Croatian island Korcula. As an electro-mechanic by trade at a young age, I have developed an interest and passion for computer science and sound systems, assembling and dissembling different hardware. I often helped neighbors and family in my young adulthood, later on to paying customers, with computer maintenance and other home equipment repairs such as TV, satellite & sound systems.
Another passion of mine is writing, specifically sci-fi novels. That is how an idea for Liquid Metal Sound was born. I worked on a sci-fi story where everything happens on a planet ruled by a conscious liquid metal substance.
Here, I have to return to the nature of living on an island, which is that most people are in some shape or form connected to the hotel & tourism industry. Such is the case with my family and me – for over 20+ years, I have been running a hostel and guesthouse as a manager and owner. But my real passion is sound systems, innovation, and writing.
How does Liquid Metal Sound innovate?
Dragan Tupaic: Speakers and related audio technology and their working principle have not changed much since 1898. That is when Oliver Lodge constructed a modern speaker design. What I mean by that, as hundred years ago, so today, speakers still have a one-dimensional purpose, and that is to emit sound intended for the human ear to hear.
The Liquid Metal Sound is innovating and creating the next generation of sound speakers and other related audio equipment with a unique auditory and visual experience of listening and simultaneously seeing the music.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Dragan Tupaic: Liquid Metal Sound has so far received a first round of funds from Fil Rouge Capital in late March 2020, just around when Covid 19 broke loose. We completed our incubator program with them by mid-July 2020. The mentoring was done mostly online. We left the program with sufficient funds to develop a working prototype that we have worked on ever since and have succeeded in the making.
Our products will be high-end products and on a more pricey side. The COVID-19 times will not be in much favor of such products. Still, with people spending more time inside, with less outside entertainment, the sound speaker and audio equipment industry will remain a useful and profitable industry. The market research shows how Bluetooth and wireless speakers will be the most desired and sold audio equipment pieces. That is why our first working prototype is a state of the art Bluetooth speaker with built-in LMS technology and the latest Bluetooth sound technology.
Being located on a relatively remote island in Europe, Croatia, with all communication, work, and business activities having shifted heavily online, I have to say it worked for us because it helped us cut on travel and other costs.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Dragan Tupaic: Oh, yes! Quite a few lessons learned. Budgeting is one thing for sure, sacrificing one thing over the other just because there are not enough means to cover everything that needs or should be done.
Learning how to be patient is perhaps the biggest lesson learned. The mind has its way of working and projecting much faster than it is humanly and with limited means possible to bring to reality. So, learning to be patient, focused, and with organized thoughts to follow through with a plan is a big lesson and skill to have and gain as your project sets off the ground.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and Liquid Metal Sound in the future?
Dragan Tupaic: The projection is to have the first line of LMS products on the market by 2022, the latest, with enough secured funds and partnerships to make it happen. The long-term plan and projections are developing LMS technology, incorporating it into interior design, and applying it to home décor.
As far as stress and anxiety go, nothing relieves stress and anxiety as music, so I listen to music. Or watch sci-fi movies. Writing is also a great stress reliever for me. And physical work. I like to do home repair jobs around the house and maintain it well. That’s why every day, I find something that needs painting, fixing, or changing. In the summer, nothing beats swimming for relaxing and unwinding.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Dragan Tupaic: Some great young companies with beautifully designed sound equipment and great built-in sound technology. Our differentiation point is the LMS technology applied to audio equipment with other components following the latest developments in sound technology.
As mentioned earlier, we plan to stay in the game by diversifying and applying the LMS technology to home décor and interior design.
Through patent licensing, we are open to collaborations with our competitors and interior design specialists. We are seeking financial partners or tech partners as well.
Your final thoughts?
Dragan Tupaic: Grind and grind until you make it. Just remember—stay focused.