FRUSTRATION LED TO IMAGINATION
Chris’ journey as a young, budding CEO has been jam-packed with both challenges and triumphs. At the age of only 19, Chris founded his own company Estendio in a mission to rescue students under pressure like himself.
Chris had just begun his business degree at the University of Strathclyde when he realised that his grades would be largely based on his ability to present information – a task that frustrated him due to being dyslexic. No matter how many all-nighters Chris would pull, he would freeze as his classmates watched him anxiously stumble through his presentation.
Step into Chris’ shoes to experience how he would process chunks of information…
It wasn’t long before Chris came up with the idea of Present Pal – an app that would not only act as a digital flashcard with emphasised bullet points, but a tool to fully control Microsoft PowerPoint.
Buzzing with his idea, Chris rushed to dyslexia experts. After chatting with the specialists, Chris went on to come up with even more great features including colour overlays to reduce visual stress and ensuring that each slide had only 3-5 bullet points so that the working memory wasn’t overloaded. Working with his close mate Iain on software development and seeking help from Nicola and John, Chris watched his dreams come to life…
CHALLENGES AND TRIUMPHS
Despite pressure from his family to finish his degree, Chris made the decision to leave Strathclyde at the end of first year to focus on Present Pal. However, it wasn’t long before he became Strathclyde Entrepreneurial Program’s youngest ever Rising Star. This platform allowed him to go on to win over £200,000 of funding and earning titles such as ‘The Herald Digital Student Entrepreneur of the Year’ and Converge Challenge 2016 Runner-Up.
However, it was not all fun and games for Chris who soon came to realise that tackling sales, marketing and finance whilst trying to design the app was both gruelling and lonely. Bearing in mind that Chris was also trying to prove his professional worth as a young entrepreneur, it was time for him to expand Estendio.
So when Chris’ software was approved for Disabled Students’ Allowance, he recruited blossoming intern Ruairidh and Chris’ buzzing aspirations gained a new lease of life.
STARTING AN EXCITING NEW CHAPTER
Having had Ru on board for almost a year, Chris decided it was time to extend the team again, with two student interns Sana and Leah joining.
The team are currently facing a crucial chapter as they prepare for the Summer 2018 launch of a revamped Present Pal. Chris is springing into his role as ‘boss’ as he leads the team through the thrilling run up to the launch (date to be announced soon!).
We suppose it’s ironic to call Chris a ‘boss’, because a hierarchical, strict delegator who dishes out all of the unwanted tasks to his colleagues is not what comes to mind when you think of him. In fact, he couldn’t be further from that.
Chris has adopted an agile approach for the team where everyone’s views are listened to. We’re so excited about being able to make real change happen whilst having fun doing it! Present Pal has loads of brilliant things to look forward to, and there’s many more chapters in this book that you’re going to want to be a part of…
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