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Founder Fridays: Adrien Barthel and Sleek

3 minute read

This week kicks off our Founder Fridays – short profiles and war stories from founders who are on the journey to greatness. This week we’re covering our fearless leader Adrien Barthel, co-founder and CEO of Sleek.

#1. In a couple of sentences, tell me what your business does.

Sleek is a cloud based corporate service provider. We incorporate companies and assist them in their governance, accounting and tax matters; through the use of technology and following the local regulations obviously!

#2. What are 3 words that describe Year 1 of Sleek?

Teamwork: At the start we were 3, and now we’re onboarding new teammates every month. What I like the most about our fabulous team is that everyone is on the same page about solving problems with simple tools in this very unique vertical.

Listening: I think this could be the word responsible for Sleek itself. As client of traditional corporate secretary, we were frustrated. Then we came up with a solution on our own, but we’re constantly speaking and listening to our clients to see how we can improve our solution even more.

Agile: Just like in any startup in its beginning, we face many challenges. The key is to be able to move quickly to find solutions, or go around these challenges. To that regard, I think we are quite agile!

#3. What are you thankful for?

Our team! I’m extremely proud of it, and happy to see that we are not the only ones jammed about building simple and efficient solutions in an unsexy vertical to bring back customer satisfaction.

#4. What is the single achievement you are most proud of?

I think the first six months were a massive achievement as it is during this time that we have built and launched our platform, closed the first clients, found traction, and hence proved our market fit. So now it is time to scale!

#5.What was the hardest thing in Year 1?

Same as previous questions, the first six months were challenging. As you build a company, you fail or break a lot of things and it’s completely normal! The learning experience is amazing as it allows you to put a lot of things in perspective, and you still can afford to break things and come up with major adjustments.

#6. What is an important lesson you learned?

Be resilient and learn from failures and success.

#7. Is there anything you would do differently?

There are plenty of things we regret of doing as we made a lot of mistakes, but at the end of the day, if you don’t try, you’ll never know!

#8. Looking ahead: What is your plan for Year 2?

As I mentioned, it is now time to scale! Scale the team by welcoming stellar and hungry teammates that share our vision and values; keep on improving our product, and help out more entrepreneurs with their governance and accounting matters.

#9. It’s a marathon, not a sprint… how will you avoid burnout?

I run, a lot in Singapore, and often in the region attending trail runs. It helps me disconnect, get my mind clear and I often come up with new ideas!

#10. Where do you learn new things? The internet? Mentors?

While I run, I listen to podcasts about entrepreneurship (YC – How to start a startup, Masters of Scale, Radical Candor etc.) and other things. I also have regular coffees or drinks with more experienced entrepreneurs or people with different backgrounds to get their thoughts on the challenges I’m facing as a founder, or as an organization.

#11. What’s next for Sleek?

We have some exciting product releases that will clearly make the life of our clients easier. We have identified pain points in the daily life of entrepreneurs, either because of the non-existence of a tech alternative, or their price. The future is looking bright!

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