The entire business community in India is still shocked at the unexpected death of VG Siddhartha, the owner and founder of the largest coffee chain in India Cafe Coffee Day – CCD.
The Chairman and Managing Director of Coffee Day Enterprise Limited (CDEL) went missing from the evening of 29th July. In his letter addressed to the board of CDEL, the son-in-law of former Union Ministers of Foreign Affairs and BJP leader S.M.Krishna blamed himself for failing to create a profitable business model despite trying his best.
Here are the 10 things to know about VG Siddhartha:
1. Came From Coffee-Growing Family
Family of Siddhartha based in Chikamaglur has been growing coffee for 140 years. The constant worry of coffee growers about finding a way to adjust the finances whenever the prices went down, gave Siddhartha the idea to come into retail. He was looking for a solution that will ensure that the changes in commodity prices do not impact the overall business in the long run.
2. Largest Individual Coffee Planter
The family of this postgraduate in Economics is the largest individual coffee planter and owns around 15,000 acres of coffee estates.
3. Started Exporting Coffee In 1993
Siddhartha started exporting coffee in 1991 directly as he never wanted to go through a middleman and went on to become the largest exporter of coffee in India within 2 years.
4. Building Brand With Small Outlets
When Siddhartha became the largest exporter of coffee in a very short time he thought that any other international player can also do so. His thought that big houses from Europe and the US can come to India anytime and establish their roots here motivated him to look out for long term survival. And thus, came the idea of building a brand by opening small Fresh and Ground outlets.
5. Opened the First CCD In Bengaluru
In 1994, Siddhartha opened the first Coffee Day outlet in Bengaluru followed by 20 to 25 more outlets in the same city and around 20 outlets in Chennai where they sold coffee powder.
6. Adding Lifestyle Feature To Coffee
Although Coffee Day was selling the powder in tonnes, the margin was very less. That is when Siddhartha decided to add the Cafe culture to his outlets. But it was not easy because in India coffee was available at Rs.5 so who will buy it at Rs.25?
When Siddhartha visited Boat Quay in Singapore, the idea of having a cybercafe came to him and thus was born the Cafe Coffee Day concept. Today the company has 1750 CCD stores and 60,000 vending machines across India with its nearest competitor lagging far behind at 170.
7. Presence Across Foreign Countries
CCD also has a presence in foreign countries including the Czech Republic, Malaysia, and Austria. Siddhartha intended to exploit the booming tourism in India and take his idea of CCD across the borders to Europe and the US.
8. Trouble Started With IT Raids
The trouble with CCD started in 2017 when more than 20 locations linked to Siddhartha were raided by the Income Tax Officials. Today the CCD brand under the coffee retailing business is the market leader in the country and was expected to close with sales of around 2,250 crores by March 2020.
9. Stakes In Logistics & Technology Parks
Apart from coffee retailing, Coffee Day Group also has stakes in logistics, technology parks including SEC and STP schemes, investments in technology and software companies and financial services.
10. Last Statement By Siddhartha
The founder of CCD went missing on Monday evening after which the shares of his company plummeted by 20%. According to his driver, he was talking to someone on mobile while coming out of the car.
In his last letter to his board members, Siddhartha says, “I would like to say I gave it my all. I am very sorry to let all the people that put their trust in me. I fought for a long time but today I gave up as I could not take any more pressure from one of the private equity forcing me to buy back shares, a transaction I had partially completed six months ago by borrowing a large sum of money from a friend.”
The police officials are investigating the death of the Coffee King and the exact reason for his death will come to light shortly. The whole of India is mourning the loss of a great entrepreneur who had the vision and courage to make the idea thought impossible a reality.
#VGSiddhartha a role model for all the young entrepreneurs, who was a helping hand for #startups ,gave a new life to coffee growing farmers, provided employment to lakhs of people is no more
We Kannadigs urge for a impartial&fair investigation against tax terrorism #RIPSiddhartha pic.twitter.com/SAWpitdEaX
— Amod Sirsikar 🇮🇳 (@withAmod) July 31, 2019