Chris Slee – Believe in the Idea but Continue Your Due Diligence
BIO: Christopher Slee is the Founder, Principal, and Chief Product Officer at AWH, a Dublin, Ohio software engineering firm currently celebrating its 26th year of creating innovative digital products for business clients.
STORY: Chris has had a fair share of experience helping startups develop and get their products to the market. While he has no one worst investment story, his experience comes with a series of learnings and painful lessons.
LEARNING: Believe in the startup and the products you are investing but also do your due diligence. Know your market and build a financial runway before you work on your product.
“There’s no magic in marketing. There is sweat, due diligence, and effort.”
Christopher Slee is the Founder, Principal, and Chief Product Officer at AWH, a Dublin, Ohio software engineering firm currently celebrating its 26th year of creating innovative digital products for business clients.
At AWH, Chris leads internal and external development teams across all applications, from web, mobile, and desktop platforms, to virtual reality and machine learning. Even though Chris has been programming for more than 30 years, he continues to push the technology envelope. From drones to artificial intelligence, Chris continues to exemplify the spirit of continual learning in the tech space.
Worst investment ever
For the past 26 years, Chris has spent his life working with startups and upscaling younger companies to get their products out into the market and capitalize on that. His company AWH helps many startups at the same time.
In the early days, handling multiple projects was easier because people mainly just needed websites to market their products. But right now, the e-commerce field has changed, and the process is a lot more elaborate. Products have evolved, and consumers desire more complex products. They expect their apps to be smarter and do things for them.
So to keep up with the trends, Chris’s company took on a venture arm that helps organizations in the startup phase go through a round of funding called Friends and Family or finance it themselves. And then find them an angel investor or an early-stage investor to, finally, help them find a seed investor.
With experience comes a great deal of lessons
Chris has had a fair share of experience helping startups develop and get their products into the market. While he has no one worst investment story, his experience comes with a series of learnings and painful lessons.
You must believe in the products you’re building
You must believe in the products that you are building and the entrepreneur as well. If you don’t have 100% confidence in the entrepreneur, their product, and the market space, don’t invest in it.
Do your due diligence
There are many times where the emotional drive and belief in the product and trust in the entrepreneur may lead you astray. You can 100% believe that you’re right and be 100% wrong. When investing in a startup, go beyond believing in the product and the entrepreneur. Do your due diligence and believe in your gut.
Know your market
You should know someone who wants to buy your product before you start to build it; otherwise, you will be creating for yourself. There is a possibility that there is no market for your product, so make sure you know this before you waste your money and time.
Your financial runway is essential
You need some financing because you have to work on the product-market fit. While sometimes you have to wait before you launch your product, when the time comes, and you can’t finance and support your product launch, it all ends just before the miracle happens.
Listen to your intuition
Sometimes you have to listen to your intuition but know the difference between feeling and intuition. Intuition is that momentary tinge or cringe, and that brief instant, where you feel something, and then your body and our mind overcome that feeling, and it’s gone. You overcome it with your confidence and logic.
Be comfortable with the fact that you don’t have all the answers. Surround yourself with people who also don’t have all the answers right but can bring you new ideas.
No. 1 goal for the next 12 months.
Chris’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to get several clients to their next investment rounds. From an organizational perspective, Chris’s goal is to ensure the team is thriving and employees feel like a team even while working from home. His personal goal in the next 12 months is to go on a vacation outside of his house.
“Embrace your ideas and go after them but, keep learning. That’s the key.”