Andrew Li is a founding member of Gyana. He holds the position of CFO and manages the company finances.
Andrew, please can you tell me about your career and education to date, and what inspired you to work in tech?
My career started off in the field of solar cells; I did both my bachelor’s and Ph.D. on the topic, getting into the material science and device physics. After my Ph.D., I was very interested in industrialization and commercialization of solar cell technology, and so I went to work in Research and Development with a solar cell manufacturer. I believed then and now that technology has the power to improve and transform the way we live, and I very much wanted to be part of that. After delivering on projects which increased solar cell efficiencies at the manufacturer, I decided to build on my business skills. I did an MBA at the University of Oxford, and it was there that I got in touch with Joyeeta and the vision of Gyana. We worked on the startup together on the side during our studies, and after the course finished, we worked on Gyana full time.
How and why did you decide to join Gyana?
I joined Gyana because I wanted to get into building a fast-growing technology business. Big data is changing the way we live, and I very much wanted to be part of the change. I also value the opportunity of being part of a startup and being able to shape how the company grows.
As a CFO what does your day consist of and how do you manage all of your responsibilities?
My role as CFO is firstly about managing the company finances. Cash and cash flow are critical to startups, and things can go downhill pretty quickly if you’re short of cash. Thus, I have to keep a close eye on the money coming in and going out of the company and make sure we are healthy. The contracts that the company has with employees, suppliers, and customers are the foundation for the cash going in and out of the company, so part of my role involves reviewing, understanding, and managing these contracts so that there are no surprises. The time factor for all of these things is very important; so a CFO needs to plan and manage his time well, to ensure everything is done on time and that deadlines are not missed.
What are future developments in technology that you are most excited about?
Bitcoin and blockchain are certainly getting a lot of attention in recent months. They have the potential to completely change the way finance is done. Will it live up to the hype? Or will it just be another bubble? The possible outcomes are so wide and varied, it’s very exciting to see how it all develops.
What is coming up next for you as Gyana’s CFO?
I’m looking forward to the upcoming investment rounds, where we’ll start dealing with much large rounds sizes and even higher valuations. The deals become very complex and a lot is at stake given the number of parties involved and the amount on the table. It’ll be a challenge and responsibility to get the deals done, but that’s what a CFO has got to do.