Mixing His Big Idea With Coffee Is Today A Rs 7,000 Crore Empire
Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world. Many of us can't start our day without brewing a cup of hot coffee. Although south of India has known been a land of coffee lovers but the trend was brought to the rest of India following its massive influence and consumption in western countries. It is the perfect drink to offer to your date and is enjoyed the best when reading a book on a rainy afternoon. And when we think of coffee Cafe Coffee Day is a name that's hard to ignore.
The idea of this massive chain was born in a small cyber cafe and today, with a towering sales of 1.8 billion cups of coffee, founder VF Siddhartha proudly owns this Rs 7,000 crore-brand. The making of this success story inspires us because an ordinary idea has all the chances to strike a chord with billions of ordinary people, like you and I.
Born in Chikkamaluruu district of Karnataka, Siddhartha's family has been associated with coffee cultivation for many decades. For nearly 140 years, his family used to produce coffee on their 350 acres of land. It won't be improper to say that coffee runs through their blood streams. After finishing his post graduation in economics from Mangalore University of Karnataka, Siddhartha had a wonderful option to pursue family business in front of him, but he turned to Mumbai to do something of his own. He had a strong desire to create a different identity for himself.
He took a loan of Rs 5 lakh from his father and invested a portion of it in land and reached the city of dreams with the remaining money. After reaching Mumbai, he wanted to meet JM Financial Ltd's head Mahendra Kamapani. Recalling that time, Siddhartha says that he rushed to his office without any appointment. He wanted to go to sixth floor but did not know how elevators operated as he was seeing them for the first time so opted to take the stairs. Breathing heavily he arrived on the floor and a stroke of good luck got him to meet the man. He had embarked on a new route since that day. Working with Mahendra gave Siddhartha a lot of knowledge on trading and stock market.
After working there for two years Siddhartha returned to Bangalore. With a new dreams and revived passion, he opened his own financial firm with Rs 2 lakh that he had saved. It was a time when the stock market was tumbling down but he held on to optimism and invested Rs 30,000 in stocks. During this time, he was also in talks with a German coffee brand owner. Siddhartha was so influenced by his words that he began looking at coffee sector with a new hope.
The inspiration led him to form a coffee production and export company named Amalgamated Bean Company (ABC) in 1993. The company exported 28,000 tonnes of coffee annually with local sales touching about 2,000 tonne mark fetching them Rs 3.5 crore. Currently, they are making an annual sales of Rs 25 billion making ABC the largest exporter green coffee in India. All this while that Siddhartha worked to build his company he also kept researching on something different and unique.
This time was the advent of internet for India and many would look at it as a monster mainly because they didn't understand it and it was spreading rapidly. Siddhartha thought of creating a space where people could get good access to internet with a hot cup of delicious coffee. With this thought he opened the first two Cafe Coffee Day outlets in Bengaluru and Chennai, in 1996. It became popular as Bengaluru's first internet cafe. Its craze only saw an upward trend and gradually took shape of a massive chain. Today, Cafe Coffee Day has more than 1,600 outlets across the country.
Apart from this, Siddhartha also founded Global Technology Ventures Limited in 2000. It recognizes Indian companies engaged in leading technologies, offers investment and consultation. At present, he is also a board member of companies like Zee TV, MindTree, Liquid Crystal, and WayToWealth.
Today, Siddhartha is featured among the world's most successful businessmen, with a personal fortune of Rs 7,000 crore. His success shows us that the simplest of ideas have big potential; we simply have to be keen enough to spot them.