As news platforms went into a tizzy following reports that the Café Coffee Day founder VG Siddhartha had gone missing, the question begs asking, who is Siddhartha and why did the 58-year-old coffee entrepreneur come to embody the archetypal Indian entrepreneur?
Born in Karnataka’s Chikkamagaluru district, Siddhartha had a master’s degree in economics and was married to veteran politician SM Krishna’s daughter Malavika.
Siddhartha’s career started in the financial world at the age of 24, with J M Financial Limited in Mumbai. After a 2 year run there, he bought Sivan Securities in 1984 and turned it into a highly successful stock broking company, that was renamed Way2Wealth Securities in 2000.
Taking a page from his Chikmagalur roots, Siddhartha turned to coffee in 1992 and created the Amalgamated Bean Company or ABC, a coffee growing and trading company.
Things took off from there and Siddhartha launched India’s first coffee café called Café Coffee Day on Brigade Road, Bengaluru in 1996. The chain went on to grow across India and the world.
Siddhartha was also known for his canny financial sense, of which his most profitable investment was in Mindtree, a company he entered in 2000 and sold earlier this year.
Infact, till recently, Café Coffee Day was buzzing in trade on news the coffee entrepreneur was in talks with Coca Cola for a stake sale.
His letter however indicates intense pressure from PE investors and tax officials, that seemed to have driven him to the brink.