Chris Ahn

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In Conversation

Why do you emphasize business innovation?

Chris — We often think of innovation as engineering feats - greater automation, more accessible storage, and faster data transfers - but business model innovation requires deep customer empathy. Subtle usability and design improvements significantly reduce friction to adoption. Marketing or naming features intuitively help users envision how to use the product before they see it. The right pricing and packaging helps customers immediately understand the axes on which the product delivers value. Thoughtful business innovation, coupled with engineering feats, creates an exponentially compelling purchasing proposition.

How did your role at GitHub evolve during the rapid growth years?

Chris — I jumped into an “avant-garde” company once famous for having no managers and operating like an open-source project to help start the finance and strategy team. Over time, I helped lead the Strategic Finance and BizOps teams, scale enterprise sales, launch the marketplace product, and lead our acquisition efforts three years later as GitHub grew to over 1,000 employees. There were no tasks that were beneath me, and I embraced every hat I wore.

You're constantly trying new things and tinkering. Why?

Chris — I was an avid gamer as a kid and A/B tested my way through Super Mario to try to achieve the fastest completion time. I no longer play Super Mario (and according to YouTube was decidedly not the fastest), but I'm still obsessed with efficiency and am excited by tools that inspire new workflows, both for individuals and organizations. I enjoy being an early adopter and testing my way through the kinks, so if you have an idea for a new collaboration or automation tool, it's never too early to reach out!

Chris focuses on venture and growth investments in the enterprise space. He is particularly interested in businesses characterized by strong communities, approachable design, or viral bottoms-up adoption.

Chris joined Index from GitHub, where he helped build and lead the strategic finance and business operations teams. He also helped the company scale its enterprise business, launch its Marketplace product, and led the acquisition efforts with Microsoft. Previously, Chris was an investor at Hellman and Friedman and an investment banker at Morgan Stanley.

Chris graduated from Georgetown University with a B.S. in foreign service in international economics and an Honors Certificate in international business diplomacy and is originally from Seoul, Korea.