Fractional CFO of the Week: Issam Abu-Aisheh

  • What is the definition of being a fractional executive for you?

Issam Abu-Aisheh is working with businesses as a Fractional CFO. Issam is helping his clients with fundraising, creating financial models, and pitch decks to gear them up for a fundraise.

  • What roles within companies do you fill?

I usually fill the fractional CFO role.

  • How do you help startups/companies as a fractional executive?

From a fractional CFO perspective, I prepare startups for their funding rounds by providing strategic advisory across their financial models and pitch decks, gearing them up for their funding rounds while formulating their fundraising strategy, and walking with them hand in hand through the fundraising process. After completing the funding round, I manage the startup’s financials to ensure that KPIs are achieved in the set timeframe.

  • Tell us about an experience at a company you worked with that defines your career so far.

I must say that every company I worked with brings a unique experience from new learning across different business models, different lifecycles, and the vision and ambition of the founding team. They inspire me, and I try my best to do the same. 

  • What advice would you give a startup going for a fundraise?

Always think strategically about your fundraise, from bringing strategic investors to thinking at least one step ahead. i.e. consider the round you’re raising for and the KPI’s you can achieve with the funds you’re going to raise. While doing so, think about your next round, how much you would need to raise then, and how that would affect your dilution and vision.

Don’t overinflate your valuation even if you can. Overinflating your valuation could hurt in the long run by making it more difficult for you to be acquired if this is what you want in the long term.

  • How did your prior experiences set you up to be a great fractional executive?

Coming from an investment banking background, I learned so much throughout my fractional CFO journey. I believe that my financial experience and my broad exposure to the tech ecosystem in London working side-by-side with investors gave me a deep understanding of what makes a company successful from a financial perspective and from a product and market positioning angle.

  • How do you typically structure your engagements with companies?

Depending on their need, I usually work with companies on a monthly retainer fee or an hourly rate. The hourly rate approach works better for companies with a lighter load and is an excellent way to gauge the chemistry and build trust. Once trust has been established, and workload has increased, companies tend to shift to monthly retainers.

  • Why should startups choose fractional executives instead of hiring full-time? (benefits…)

I believe that the beauty of fractional executives from a startup perspective is that you can bring an industry veteran with deep expertise on a part-time basis that they wouldn’t be able to afford full-time. You’re essentially getting deep industry expertise on tap.

  • What do you like most about being a fractional executive?

I love meeting new founders, learning about their passions and ambitions while delving deep, and learning about new industries. Additionally, each founder brings a unique skill set and mindset, which is enthralling. I learn about new industries, gain new skills and get a new challenge with every new project.