Shriyash Kela

Championing Financial Innovation For A Greener Future

Shriyash Kela

Co-Founder & CFO,

SKS CleanTech

Driving financial excellence in the twin shift towards CFO roles and energy transformation, Shriyash Kela, Co-founder and CFO at SKS CleanTech, understands that the CFO’s role is crucial in balancing risks and rewards as the industry changes course. With expertise in project financing, banking operations, financial analysis, equity management, and business finance, Shriyash plays a pivotal role in aligning business strategies with the shifting dynamics of the power sector. Leveraging the ‘push’ of technology and the ‘pull’ of 16 years of experience, Shriyash has developed capabilities that significantly enhance the strategic, financial, and market positioning of SKS CleanTech.
Joining SKS CleanTech in 2023 as a Financial Controller and now serving as Co-Founder & CFO, Shriyash has driven significant financial growth, achieving an eleven-fold increase in FY24 from FY23. He oversees diverse functions, including procurement, accounts, lending, and strategic design. Standout as a ‘Strategic CFO,’ Shriyash is adept at linking strategy with execution and market plans to achieve desired positioning outcomes. Under his leadership, SKS CleanTech completed a 200 KW project in just 15 days, showcasing his expertise in project management, efficient manpower utilisation, and timely delivery.
TradeFlock interviewed Shriyash to explore his challenges, unique strategies, key strengths, and the vision he holds for the intersection of finance and clean energy. 

What key moments led you from traditional banking to CleanTech?

Over my 15-year banking career, I provided advisory services across renewable infrastructure, real estate, and various other sectors. I successfully syndicated loans exceeding Rs 1600 Crores, collaborating with Public Sector Banks, Private Banks, NBFCs, and HNIs. Working closely with major CleanTech clients during this period ignited my interest in the industry. I faced numerous challenges in operational coordination with banks, which inspired me to move to the other side of the table to address these issues directly. My extensive experience in banking helped me to better manage financial needs of the company and streamline coordination with banks, ultimately driving my transition to the CleanTech industry.

As a financial expert, what challenges do you face in securing funding for solar and EV projects, and how do you overcome them?

At SKS Cleantech, a dynamic bootstrap tech startup with a turnover of Rs 12 Crores, we have experienced an 11x growth from the previous financial year. Despite our bootstrap status and the absence of raised equity, we effectively managed cash flow challenges through strategic investments in our core business areas. Traditional banks often scrutinise our leverage ratio, but we counter this by emphasising our management team’s 40+ years of expertise, our technical proficiency, and a proven track record of over 8GW in strategic investments and completed projects. In our EV battery swapping business, particularly in West Bengal, we capitalise on minimal competition and focus on technological differentiation to maintain profitability. To address collateral security concerns, we are exploring leasing options, which help reduce operational costs and improve margins. I must say that technology helped a lot in strategic investment decisionmaking with accurate data and insights.

How do you balance the risks of entrepreneurship with the drive for innovation?

As far as innovation is concerned, we have always been at the forefront of cutting-edge technologies such as AI, IoT, and automation. We are currently leveraging them to enhance efficiency and quality while minimising manpower requirements. From my perspective as a CFO, entrepreneurship is an opportunity to optimise costs, time, and accuracy rather than a risk. Our approach combines in-house technology development and R&D with the acquisition or outsourcing of advanced technologies like machine learning and blockchain. This strategy ensures continuous innovation, maintains financial discipline, enhances profitability, and drives sustainable growth.

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses, and how have they shaped your career?

My key strengths are financial data analysis, multitasking, stakeholder coordination, and structuring deals and strategies, but not limited to these as I continuously enhance my skills by staying updated with regulations and sector-specific parameters. Multitasking has allowed me to develop expertise in procurement and design, enriching my knowledge in the CleanTech sector. What I have found most effective in shaping my career is the ability to juggle multiple tasks efficiently. This skill has not only broadened my expertise but also equipped me to handle diverse challenges in a dynamic industry. However, my tendency to get involved in minute details can sometimes be timeconsuming. Recognising this, I am actively working on balancing work allocation and supervision to improve overall productivity. By focusing on the bigger picture and delegating tasks effectively, I aim to enhance my efficiency and contribute more strategically to my team’s success.

What is your vision for the intersection of finance and clean energy in the future landscape?

As technology advances in the clean energy sector, there will be a constant need for research, development, and the creation of new technologies. My vision for the future landscape at this intersection involves establishing a dedicated in-house platform to raise funds specifically for Cleantech startups that prioritise R&D and innovation. By ensuring these startups’ financial stability and securing necessary orders, this platform will support the sustainable growth of groundbreaking CleanTech solutions. Ultimately, this initiative aims to drive the integration of finance and clean energy towards a more promising and sustainable future.







     







       







         







           







             







               







                 







                   







                     







                       







                         







                           







                             







                               







                                 

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