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Fireside Chat with Chris Fenster, Founder & CEO of Propeller Industries

June 15 @ 9:30 am - 10:30 am PDT

Fireside Chris Fenster


Fractional work is becoming the norm as companies, especially start-ups, outsource more of their non-core functions, and / or build a function initially with fractional resources. Chris saw this opportunity almost 15 years ago and has been building a firm that uses technology / data and best practices to make their team more efficient and effective than small, independent practitioners.



Chris started his career in consulting before a detour into an entrepreneurial venture inspired him to choose a different career path. As the head of finance at four startups, Chris developed a deep passion for company-building but was frustrated by the risk and inefficiency of running finance in smaller companies.

Propeller Industries was started in 2008 to create a better way, when it became clear that cloud software and digital documents made it feasible to decouple financial work from physical location.

Chris and his partners bootstrapped Propeller for twelve years, with rapid, organic growth. In 2020 Propeller received a growth equity investment from Newlight Partners to help them grow faster and bring more tech-enablement to the practice to unlock the full value potential.

Today the Propeller team is over 300 full-time people currently serving over 400 clients who have raised over $4 billion in capital from investors.

Chris holds an A.B. in Economics and Political Science from Colgate University. Outside the office, Chris’s indoor time is spent in close proximity to his wife and two young sons. Outdoor time revolves around his other loves: cycling, skiing and photography. 



  • Chris is a very approachable person. Many CEOs can be very task directed (not particularly human in their relationship with peers / team). Hear how Chris balances being the visionary / leader (who has “the plan”) with being relatable. Discuss the effect that having children may or may not have had on his approach.
  • Building a business to scale is a long journey (for most folks who succeed). Discuss times (assuming there were some) when Chris thought about quitting and what helped him stay the course.
  • Tech-enabled services businesses are not sexy (even today) in the eyes of investors and certainly were not in the early SaaS boom years when Chris started Propeller. Hear how that reality impacted how he built the business.
  • Chris’ leadership principles, his philosophy on building great teams, and how he selects his Leadership Team members.
  • Thoughts on how his team (and all knowledge workers in general) can use access to AI tools to improve their productivity.



Adi Dehejia, Founder, Journey CxO





June 15
9:30 am - 10:30 am PDT
Event Category: