How helping out his girlfriend led Nibhrant Shah to startup Themis
Themis was started to help companies focus on their core business by managing all their back end functions. It helps companies set up their system and processes so that they can perform efficiently while Themis takes care of the accountings, taxation, filling with the ROC, HR and other Secretarial requirements. They have over 100 clients from several sectors such as e-commerce, manufacturing, education, food processing, healthcare, retail etc.
Themis was started by Nibhrant Shah, an alumnus of the Kellogg School of Business. He worked as an investment banker in the US and UK before coming back to India and running an education company which was eventually sold to a PE fund in 2011. After this he started Themis which currently has a footprint in 8 cities all over India. The team currently consists of 40 people with a mix of Ex-CFO’s, bankers, and experienced HR professionals.
It was from an interesting incident that Nibhrant got the idea to start Themis. Back when he was running an education company his then girlfriend was in the fashion industry and she needed help keeping track of her accounts, and paying her taxes. Nibhrant helped her out by getting her a part time accountant and she came back to him and said some of her friends also needed help. At this point Nibhrant decided to make a business of it and he came up with the idea of Themis and the initial tagline of ‘Leave the boring part to us’. The company initially serviced individuals and transitioned their offering to service start-ups & SMEs. I guess the saying ‘Behind every successful man there is a woman’ is somewhat true.
Finding the right employees and convincing them to stick around at a startup, managing the cash flow effectively were the initial challenges faced by Themis. The biggest challenge though was selling and getting people to know about the product without being able to spend any money at all on marketing themselves. Nibhrant had to believe in his idea and take a leap of faith.
There are many firms that individually offer Accounting, HR or Secretarial solutions, but Themis has them all under one roof. Being the only player offering end to end solutions they rely predominantly on word of mouth for marketing. The clients spread their word to their promoter friends and this has a snowball effect. They also work directly with several investors such as Angel groups, PE funds and VC funds who want their portfolio companies to work with Themis so their accounts and compliances are maintained accurately and a systematic reporting mechanism is set up.
Themis has deployed a “We grow as you grow” policy for their clients. That is they initially charge a very minimal monthly retainer fee. In certain cases, so low that Themis might incur minimal losses in the first few months and then the fee increases as the client's business grows. They also work on specific projects depending on the precise needs of the clients.
Themis has rocketed to over a 100 clients in less than 2 years by providing a very essential service to start-up community in a very efficient way. They continue to manage the back end functions for start ups and are now working with much larger companies as well. They have grown to be leaders in the market aim to help every start up concentrate on their core competencies and to help investors to get a complete overview of their investments. Will they be able make their dream a reality? We are yet to know.