By Christina Del Villar, Senior Director of Marketing, Bill.com
In 2008, Chris Fenster came up with a novel way to solve a crucial problem many small companies face. Having spent the previous 13 years as a CFO in four different start-up environments, the head of Propeller Industries had learned a lot about how to – and how not to – build a company.
“Small companies often leave strategic, mission-critical functions at risk by not involving all the critical players,” says Fenster. “We solve this with an integrated team that includes expertise at all levels – bookkeeper, controller and CFO – which clients can use part-time, paying only for what they need.”
Chris’ entrepreneurial passion took root in 1992, when he left a consulting firm to get his hands dirty with some real-world business experience. And he did actually get his hands dirty – by joining a small bike shop.
After two years, Chris and his partner had built Start to Finish into one of the largest independent bicycle dealerships in the US, eventually selling to their largest supplier.
“Building an actual company was intoxicating,” he says. “We had no idea what we were doing. We took insane risks and made nearly every mistake in the book. But a great team of people – including the expert coaches we brought in – helped us thrive.”
Today the Propeller Industries team helps other businesses thrive, providing sound financial management for 70 early-stage growth companies. What makes this possible is a secure, cloud-based “technology ecosystem” that leverages a variety of best-in-class solutions, including paperless A/P, electronic routing for bill approvals and payments, real-time reporting, mobile access to data, and much more.
Propeller first used this breakthrough technology themselves, eliminating time-consuming, paper-based processes internally and supercharging their accounting process – making Chris Fenster one of the first “No Check” CEOs – before rolling it out to their clients.
“Bill.com showed up at exactly the right time in the life of our business,” says Chris. “By automating so many tedious, manual processes, it enables us and our clients to concentrate on our goals.”
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