We are publishing the interview of Mihir Lunia, Head of Growth – Themis.

Mihir LuniaPlease explain your venture to us in brief.

Themis works with Startups, SME’s and International Companies entering India in handling certain functions, allowing promoters / CEO’s to focus on their core competencies. We actually embed ourselves and act as a client’s Accounting/HR/CS team, thereby making the need to hire or rely on expensive recruits redundant.

We currently work with over 450 clients in 18 sectors and 5 countries.

When did you join the business? What have you brought to the table?
I joined at the very early stages of the company. As a services business we focused on creating a differentiated experience for our customers where we are not just their accountants but are advisors to their business. The accounting & finance service market is structured in quite a peculiar manner. Big 4 firms handle operations for large organizations and MNCs, however when it comes to serving the Start-up and SME sector in India there is a huge drop in quality and standardization of services as this market is catered to by in house teams and CA firms are not necessarily the most professional or serious about the customer experience.

What makes this particular concept different? Who is your competitor? How do you stand out?
Typically startups & SME’s have had to depend on traditional CA firms or hire expensive in house recruits to take care of their non-core operations for them.

Themis Logo

Themis is very different as it looks at bringing a “Big 4” experience to the SME & Startup sector- the idea is to create a reliable & professional service that adds value to our clients to help turn non core activities that are traditionally looked at as cost centers or compliances into key operations that churn tangible data that can be used by business owners to take key decisions.

Our value comes from not just becoming operational teams for our clients but actually advising our clients on their business.

We are also developing technology to totally disrupt the Accounting & Finance space to help accounting teams increase their efficiency by up to 200% by making it easier for them to input & review data into widely used existing software. We are also working on a product in the fin-tech space to help promoters access financial information related to their businesses in real time through a mobile application- as time evolves we will also add the ability for users to customize the way they are seeing their numbers to help them make business decisions.

What is the revenue model?
We work with our clients on a retainer i.e. we bill them on a monthly basis- the idea is that we are always more affordable than an in-house team. As time goes on and our clients evolve in terms of their businesses life cycle the nature of our roles may change to more project based roles for which we charge on a one-time basis.

With the applications we are building we will charge our customers on a monthly subscription basis as well as charge them for customizations to the product from a reporting standpoint

Who are the consumers that you are targeting with the innovation? How is this going to affect them?
Our focus is the SME & Startup market in India- the idea is to help these organizations derive business value from their Non-Core operations like Accounting, Finance & compliances. This is going to affect businesses by giving them the intelligence they need to help close the Build- Measure- Learn loop on various aspects of their business, which could be as diverse, as learning which market is best suited to their product to making sure employees are delivering on their KRA & KPI’s.

We also work with international companies entering India to help them setup & run their key functions for them.Our technology play is going to revolutionize:

  • The rate at which accountants complete their tasks- thereby increasing productivity & bringing down costs
  • The access promoters have to their financial data in real time which will help them take strategic business decisions & help validate hypothesis’ on the basis of vetted data

Team Themis

What is the strength of the organization and the scale of operations?
We are up to over 80 employees & have offices in Mumbai, Bangalore & Hyderabad – we have worked with over 450 clients till date & have had phenomenal growth in the 4.5  years we have been in business.

Give us a brief background of what you were doing before starting the venture.
Before Themis I was working with Edelweiss in the wealth management division. I graduated in 2011 from the Mumbai University with a Bachelor in Business Management.

Future plans:
We are extremely bullish about the African start-up ecosystem, and are looking to attain market leadership at an early stage.

Additionally, we are in the process of with companies that are using artificial intelligence to help automate certain aspects of accounting & finance operations which will drastically improve productivity and give business owners access to their books in real time

Founders and their background
Nibhrant Shah - Founder Themis

Nibhrant has worked as an Investment Banker in London till late 2011, before returning to India and holding senior positions in karROX Technologies Ltd. and Eyeglobal Technologies. Then he decided to make a few early stage investments. He soon realized that there was a crying need for start-up support services. This led to the founding of Themis. Along with Themis, Nibhrant also runs Isprava, an organization that builds & sells luxury villas in Goa.

Have you received any funding so far?
Initial capital for the company was self funded by the promoter & through angel investors. Over time we have been cash flow positive so we have not had the need to raise external funds- however we will look to raise funds shortly for our technology play.

What challenges did you face when you were starting out?
Standardizing delivery and ensuring we are working with the right talent is a challenge that we face till date. Since we are a people driven solution ensuring we have the best talent is always difficult due to the employability gap in India.  We do charge a slight premium compared to our competitors and CA firms as we provide a differentiated service and customer experience getting customers to buy this when cheaper alternatives were available was difficult in the initial days but it has gotten easier as we have had the chance to better our service and deliver value to our customers.

Company Name: Themis
Name: Mihir Lunia
Designation: Head of Growth
Location: Ghatkopar, Mumbai