Balaram Rouniyar


Strategic Finesse, Technological Foresight & Visionary Leadership

Balaram Rouniyar

Head of Finance,

56 Secure

Defined by rapid technological evolution and industry diversification, the finance sector stands amidst a landscape marked by transformative challenges. Embracing the shifting paradigm from conventional financial management to strategic partnership, navigating technological advancements, and fostering growth in specialized industries are pivotal hurdles faced by finance leaders today. However, for Balaram Rouniyar, Head of Finance at 56 Secure, this is ordinaire.
A luminary in the finance domain, Balaram is renowned for his astute navigation of these challenges. With a career trajectory spanning retail, e-Commerce, fintech, AI, and SaaS, and presently at the helm of finance in the security solutions industry, Balaram exemplifies adeptness in addressing multifaceted challenges within the finance segment. His profound understanding of the evolving role of finance manifests in his unwavering commitment to transform the function into a strategic powerhouse. Balaram’s adeptness in leveraging technological advancements, particularly in the areas of AI and automation, underscores his foresight in adapting finance to the digital era.
A defining hallmark of Balaram’s career lies in his ability to thrive in specialised industries. From retail to cutting-edge AI ventures, he has not only met but exceeded the challenges posed by distinct industry dynamics, shaping tailored financial strategies to drive growth. At the pinnacle of his expertise lies his adept management of investor relations and fundraising endeavours, where his finesse in financial acumen, strategic planning, and compelling communication have steered companies towards unprecedented growth trajectories.
Moreover, Balaram’s leadership in building and nurturing finance teams across diverse industries stands as a testament to his prowess in fostering cohesive, high-performing units. His collaborative approach, coupled with an innate problem-solving prowess, has consistently added substantial value to the businesses he’s been part of. TradeFlock interviewed the finance maestro to understand more about him. 

How do you swiftly establish relevance across varied industries like fintech, e-commerce, retail, and SaaS given their distinct behaviours in your career journey?

My career spans fintech, e-commerce, retail, and SaaS, requiring swift adaptation to each industry’s nuances. I focus on an 80/20 balance: 80% technical skills, 20% business acumen. I start by building a decision-making framework through discussions and systems for signal capture. When joining a new company, I collaborate intensely to grasp their needs, shaping my approach for the initial 30/60/90 days using a Gantt chart. Weekly wins drive progress and stakeholder engagement, while continual evaluation ensures course corrections if needed. Finance, without a fixed job description, involves capturing signals across the company for risk mitigation and strategy alignment. 

What principle guides your crossfunctional collaboration for successful financial strategy delivery, including incremental victories?

My approach to cross-functional collaboration prioritises clarity in roles, emphasising “business” over “finance” in decision-making, and fostering trust through transparent communication. I liken a finance leader’s role to that of a cricket coach, guiding and analysing to enhance performance. Regular updates and systematic approaches ensure clarity, while educating stakeholders about finance operations minimises misunderstandings. This approach cultivates conflict-free collaboration, aligning financial strategies with broader business goals for successful execution.

What insights have you gained from your involvement in multiple fundraising endeavours, offering you a deeper understanding of the dynamics at play?

Participating in numerous fundraising endeavours has granted me profound insights into this dynamic landscape. Fundraising, though demanding, is an opportunity for storytelling that transcends CFO duties, aligning with investor perspectives. Crafting a compelling narrative backed by robust data, especially emphasising metrics like retention cohort and customer lifetime value (LTV) to CAC analysis, proves crucial. Staying attuned to industry trends signals a healthy company. Being at the core of information processing allows me to identify overlooked metrics postfundraising, offering fresh perspectives for implementation. This challenges both storytelling prowess and data control. VCs invest in the product, founder, and team; a captivating, datasupported narrative is imperative in fundraising. Having been pivotal in fundraising at Slice and 56 Secure, I view this phase as an insight-refining journey, spotting signals for business model adaptations and expanding invaluable networks.

How do you handle team expectations and foster team motivation?

Establishing a culture of psychological safety is at the forefront of my team management approach. I embody resilience, humility, and teamwork, setting the tone for collective ownership and dedication during urgent tasks. Clear communication channels ensure the team understands strategic decisions, empowering them to autonomously craft solutions and nurturing trust and intrinsic motivation. Encouraging open communication is vital. I actively seek feedback and encourage team members to voice any lack of enthusiasm or fulfillment. Their motivation is pivotal; I offer support to overcome obstacles and ensure they feel engaged and empowered in their daily tasks.

How do you handle decisions in growth-focused companies when the marketing team stresses achieving a particular ROI from substantial investments?

In growth-centric companies, aligning finance and marketing perspectives on investment ROI is crucial. My finance-oriented approach prioritises long-term ROI over immediate gains. Budgeting for growth entails not just current acquisition costs but also factors like customer engagement, retention performance, and perceived product value. Post-investment, meticulous metric tracking and stakeholder engagement ensure continuous alignment with growth objectives. This iterative process allows for course corrections, ensuring investments evolve in line with initial growth goals.

How does finance contribute to creating visibility for startups, and how do you integrate this into your role?

In startup visibility, finance plays a pivotal role, and my approach centres on simplification. I consolidate activities into four core metrics: average revenue per user (ARPU), cost of service, cost of engagement, and cost of acquisition. Segregating activities based on contribution margins guides strategic management. Communicating these key metrics aligns stakeholders’ decision-making. Building financial and unit economic models based on this alignment ensures shared understanding, fostering smoother communication. Effective communication hinges on what and how you present—avoiding overwhelming stakeholders with excess metrics. I prioritise presenting only the most impactful metrics for clarity and actionable insights.