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May 16, 2016

In Pursuit of Excellence: The Tenth India CFO Awards

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IMA Awards The Indian CFO award for Excellence in Finance in a Start-Up to Sudesh Chinchewadi.

Creating a paradigm for sustainable growth for a start-up can be among a CFO’s most complex mandates. Sudesh Chinchewadi is CFO of Vistaar Financial Services, an onward lending financial services firm focused on the MSME sector. Over the course of the past three years, Sudesh has proven that it is possible for startups to be about so much more than ‘cash burn’, and that it is possible for CFOs to lay the foundations of potential greatness in the coming decades of firms ‘just born’. Sudesh joined Vistaar during its inception stage, handholding the tiny company through its key needs of funding at one end, and expansion into India’s Tier II and III cities at the other. Whilst its potential is immense, Vistaar’s chosen area of operation – MSMEs in rural/semi-urban areas – is vulnerable to broader economic volatility at one level, and a talent crunch at another.

sudesh

In the last eighteen months, Sudesh has successfully raised capital of Rs 410 crores and debt of Rs 408 crores from international and domestic investors. Today, Vistaar is backed by a sound phalanx of five private equity investors, engagement with whom forms a core of Sudesh’s responsibilities. With 189 branches across 11 states, and AUM of over Rs 750 crores, Vistaar’s success is predicated, in large part, on Sudesh’s ability to create strong governance and compliance structures, which enables successful fund-raising, and the creation of finance, internal audit and administrative functions that conform to high standards. Over 7,000 transactions a month are processed in an average span of six hours on in-house IT platforms whose framework was designed by Sudesh. Vistaar’s IT systems also enable customer loan disbursement electronically via banks, enabling both faster speed-to-market and the minimisation of customer risk. Since the firm’s inception, Sudesh has undertaken Vistaar’s capital raising of Rs 475 crores and debt of Rs 800 crores with the support of a small, in-house team, and without the expert support of an investment bank. As CFO and Company Secretary, Sudesh is also responsible for handling Board and Committee meetings, and has additionally facilitated the process of evaluation of the Board. The proof of the pudding lies in the RBI’s invitation to Vistaar to conduct capacity building programmes on MSME financing.

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Author:
Vistaar Official