March 19

What I Learned From Jeff Morris Jr About Investing and Product Management

Earlier this week, I had a chance to interview Jeff Morris Jr. about his take on how product management and seed-stage investing may be more similar than most would imagine. Jeff helped lead product at places like Tinder and Lambda School, but today has his own seed-stage fund, Chapter One, as well as Product Club — a virtual accelerator for product-led startups. It was a great conversation (you can check it out here). 

For product people that are intrigued by becoming an investor at some point, you might be especially interested in these few points that especially stood out to me:

    1. You don’t need to be a millionaire to get into seed-stage investing. A hidden secret in Silicon Valley is that some first checks written by angel investors can be done for as little as $1,000. But through platforms like Republic, you can invest for much less. Sahil Lavingia’s Gumroad raised $5M in 2 days on Republic, with check sizes ranging between $100 and $1,000. If you missed out, there may still be time to get in on Arlan Hamilton’s round for Backstage Capital.
    2. You can and should start building relationships now. Today, Jeff’s relationships get him access to deal flow that he may not otherwise have. If you don’t have the same network as Jeff, though, that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. It took Jeff years to build his network and profile as an investor. Creating and sharing great content, using social platforms like Twitter (like Jeff does here), and being proactive in helping others are all things that anybody can do to build their profile and network.
    3. Don’t be too safe. This should resonate with you as a product person. The biggest, game-changing products make big bets. They can’t afford to be too safe — they take chances that others aren’t willing to. The same goes for seed-stage investors. You can’t hit a home run unless you’re swinging for the fence (my words, not Jeff’s). You’ll need to accept being bold and taking big risks.

There aren’t too many product-first investors like Jeff out there. But given the analogs between product management and investing, it won’t be long before there are plenty more. Maybe it’s you?

Mike Belsito

About the author

Mike Belsito is a startup product and business developer who loves creating something from nothing. Mike is the Co-Founder of Product Collective which organizes INDUSTRY, one of the largest product management summits anywhere in the world. For his leadership at Product Collective, Mike was named one of the Top 40 influencers in the field of Product Management. Mike also serves as a Faculty member of Case Western Reserve University in the department of Design and Innovation, and is Co-Host of one of the top startup podcasts online, Rocketship.FM. Prior to Product Collective, Mike spent the past 12 years in startup companies as an early employee, Co-Founder, and Executive. Mike's businesses and products have been featured in national media outlets such as the New York Times, The Atlantic, CNN, NPR, and elsewhere. Mike is also the Author of Startup Seed Funding for the Rest of us, one of the top startup books on Amazon.


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