Chris Gardner


Chris is our resident builder, happiest when he’s hands-on with a project. At Underscore VC, that means identifying and investing in uniquely qualified founders, and then helping to build their company in any way needed: networker, salesperson, mentor, coach, psychotherapist, even drinking buddy.

His tinkering and building extend to his personal life, where you’ll find him getting hands-on in any manner of project. Car maintenance? He has a lift in his garage. Music? He’s recording an album in his barn studio. Cooking? His BBQ ribs are the stuff of legend. In short, if he can get his hands on it, he can master it (except golf; don’t ever ask Chris to play golf).

Though he’s known as a FinTech entrepreneur, Chris is a self-professed nerd and technology omnivore who, prior to Underscore VC, spent nearly three decades at companies focused on speech recognition, video streaming, mobile marketing, mobile messaging, e-billing, and document management. His last five roles all resulted in exits that created good outcomes for employees and investors.

Most recently, Chris was an executive at PayPal and led their P2P, PayPal Here, and In-Store payments products after Paydiant, the company he co-founded and built, was acquired by PayPal in 2015. Prior to that, Chris was CMO and head of products at ExtendMedia, a video content delivery and commerce platform software company that was acquired by Cisco in 2010; SVP of Products and Marketing at m-Qube, North America’s leading premium SMS mobile payments provider that was acquired by Verisign in 2006; and VP of Products and Marketing at edocs, Inc., an e-billing, payments, and customer self-service company that was acquired by Siebel Systems in 2004.

Chris earned a BA in Communications from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst a really long time ago.

What’s Chris listening to?

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