Abhishek MehraChief Executive Officer - IntelleCash

Abhishek brings with him over 17 years of experience in Financial Services. His experience spreads over Business Strategy, Sales and Distribution, Product development, Collections and Credit and Risk in two of India’s renowned financial institutions.

Abhishek was the Chief Executive Officer of IntelleCash. IntelleCash is a non-deposit taking non-banking company registered with the Reserve of India. It is a subsidiary company of Intellecap, one of the leading consulting firms that provides innovative business solutions to help build scale and profitability to organizations dedicated to social and environmental change. This has been a start up experience for Abhishek where he has build this Company from scratch by conceptualizing the entire business model of merchant cash advance. He has to his credit of raising INR 6 crores of equity and INR 20 crores of debt where today the valuation of the company is INR 50 crores.

Abhishek’s last role with CitiFinancial was as Vice President – Sales and Distribution Branch Network. CIFIL – a fully owned subsidiary of Citigroup was a $2 Billion registered NBFC under RBI dealing in consumer loans, insurance and Mortgages. Here Abhsihek managed the strategic growth of a portfolio with a P&L accountability of INR 1200 crores. Abhishek was instrumental in developing a Go to Market strategy for the business for loan, mortgages and insurance. Under his leadership the North Central, West and East divisions were the best performing division. He is recipient of the prestigious “Leader Of Distinction” twice, awarded to senior leaders within Citigroup for exemplary performance.

Abhishek has spent 14 years in CitiFinancial across geographies and divisions. He also has a stint with HSBC for a year where he set up the consumer finance business for them in the North Region, which was the fasted growing division of HSBC.

Abhishek has proven track record in business management, product development strategy and distribution across multiple asset classes, MSE loans, Mortgages, Personal loans, two wheeler loans, and Auto loans. He to his credit has varied experience of start -ups, scaling up, restructuring, and consolidation of businesses.

Abhishek is a MBA from SCU Lismore (NSW) and Bachelors in Commerce from Delhi University.

1. What was the mandate given to you by the Board when you took over in your role?

The mandate from the board was to come up with an asset light model, targeting the MSME segment by providing working capital loans, focusing on the missing middle segment, tageting the retail and service industry.

2. How much of that has been achieved? What were the challenges faced?

In the short span of 20 months we have achieved quite a lot, we have funded almost 200 hundred MSME’s, bulit technlogy and robust porcesses for superlative customer experience and risk mitigation. The key challenge any start up faces is hiring the right set of people, which is the key for the success of any venture, at any stage!

3. What are the key challenges your organization is facing currently? And what are the steps you are taking?

At this point its very important for us to move into other locations beside Mumbai, for a better coverage and risk mitigation. For this we are ensuring we have robust technology to ensure to minimize human intervention and conistency in our processes. Other challenge is to identify and hire the people for these new locations.

4. How have the changes in technology/globalization/economy affected your sector?

All the three factors have given a major filip to our sector. For example, the demonitization has meant for greater usage of electronic payments by end customers of our borrowers, also our borrwers embracing more and more of eclectronic payments. This is very important for us as our business model of lending is built around electroncially captured sales data and our repayments of loans come through- electronic payments systems, like Point of Sale machines, Automated clearing house.

5. What is your talent strategy? How do you draw the balance between home grown vs lateral hiring at the leadership level?

I believe talent is the key for any buisness to succeed. Since we are start up we are looking outward towards hiring key talent.

6. How does your organization identify and develop future leaders?

We look at people with high intergity, bent towards innivation / collaboration / enterpreneurial spirit / problem solving ability and going beyond their defined roles as future leaders

7. In a world full of volatility, Uncertainty, complexity & Ambiguity (VUCA), innovation has become one of the most important factor to transform a crisis into an opportunity. How do you promote Innovation?

To be relevant as a business, you need to be innovative at all times. We have built a culture where we always challenge the status quo and believe an organsiation has to be innovative at all stages of their life cycle. A good example of failing in this, is of “Nokia” which was a market leader in mobile phones but fell aside becuase of lack of innovation.

8. How do you define & practice leadership?

Leadership – is to build a vision, values and culture, at the same time being able to built strong a team which believes in the same vision / culture / values.

9. How Indian leaders can become Global Leaders?

Indian leaders should “Think Golbal and Act local”

10. What message would you like to share with young professionals at the start of their career?

Young professionals at the start of the career should grab as many opportunites to learn and should take as much risk as possible