In the first of his interaction since assuming the role of CFO at Lemme Be, Vinod Abrol speaks to Urvi Shrivastav, Editorial Lead BW CFO World, BW Businessworld, about the evolving role of a CFO, his role, and vision for the brand in the coming years.
What is your role going to be at Lemme Be?
Well in my experience at a start-up, the role of any individual be it a founder/co-founder or an employee can’t be defined, it is ever-evolving. It’s a team working towards a common cause, which in our case is bringing the best products to customers, along with solving a social taboo, the outcome of which would be the top line of what the Company does. Our vision is to build a global brand from India, the proof of which has already been done in the geographies of India, Australia, and Dubai. The short-term milestone is to drive the growth in these geographies and expansion to new geographies while building the operations and finance vertical to manage the scale and complexity of each region. With a decade of experience in the digital world and has been part of a team that has built businesses of scale starting from the ground level, the short-term vision is to cut short the learning curve for the team to grow and capture the market faster.
How will you bring your previous lessons as a senior leader to Lemme Be?
Over a decade of experience in the digital world, at the leadership level during my tenure at Jabong, I got an opportunity to work with great leaders across the board both pre and post-acquisition by Flipkart. There are a lot of learnings not only in terms of scaling the business, but also in building the team, expanding of product portfolio, digital marketing, retention of customers, pricing elasticity, and in particular how the product and tech sit at the core of a digital business. I am excited to bring all of these together to Lemme Be. I am confident that Lemme Be would benefit and we will together build a revolutionary brand. Coupled with this, the experience of raising funds, gearing up the investments for the next round and exits, has been part of the profile for the last 4 years, so investors’ thought process is well understood and building value for all stakeholders is a key part of my learnings. Not to forget employees are the biggest stakeholders in a start-up and their growth is equally important.
How has the role of a CFO changed in today’s times?
I come from a background where the CFO’s role has always been an enabler, rather than a road blocker; we find a solution-oriented approach to make things work for any business. At the end of the day, the CFO is a conscious keeper and also an enabler of growth. To me, nothing has changed. It was the same a decade ago for me and my peers.
What are the challenges you face as a CFO, and how do you overcome them?
I thrive on solving difficult problems every day, would love to have a new challenge every day and provide solutions for that. The art of turning challenges into opportunities has always been the mindset and that’s the greatest strength.
What are your business goals at Lemme Be?
My short-term goal is to see Lemme Be as an INR 500 Cr revenue brand with positive unit economics over the next 24 months. It’s whitespace, with nil to minimal innovation in the category, while fighting the social taboo. While revenue always remains the milestone, the key to that is satisfying customers and launching new products evolving from the voice of customers