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The Entrepreneur Diaries: Anit Hora

In 2007, Anit Hora quit her dream job with no safety net, no backup plan and no idea of what she was going to do next.

After graduating with a degree in fashion design Hora landed a high paying gig as a designer for a major label in New York City. She was earning a good salary, had great benefits, strong job security, enjoyed her work and was getting promoted on a regular basis. Seven years into her seemingly perfect career, however, Hora found herself thinking, “This can’t be it.”

“I did love my job, but I didn’t love it enough to not want to try something new,” she says. “I worked as a full-time knitwear designer when I started making my own products. When demand started to grow, it became more difficult for me to balance everything.”

Hora eventually couldn’t keep up with the pace of a day job and creating her own products, so she took off on a three-month backpacking trip around South America while she considered her next career move. As she traveled, volunteered and taught, Hora fell in love with the lifestyle and ended up staying for over a year and a half. “That’s when I realized that maybe the nine-to-five life isn’t for me,” she says.

But Anit says it wasn’t simple or easy to make the choice to leave her job and travel, especially financially. “Taking the leap is difficult but freeing at the same time. My best advice is to have a well-organized strategy, both financial and otherwise, ready for when you decide to quit your 9-5 and dive headfirst into your company.”

The trip taught Hora how different life was outside the big city. For example, she says she had very little patience for illness in her corporate life; the moment she felt sick in New York she’d race to get a prescription for antibiotics and try to return to work as quickly as possible.

It wasn’t until she came down with an illness in South America and tried to do the same that she realized this wasn’t normal behaviour. “They all looked at me like I was crazy,” she says. “They were like, ‘why would you want such a strong medicine?’”

That’s when Hora fell in love with herbal teas and natural medicines, which she studied formally upon her return to New York in 2008; first in classes at the Open Centre, then during an apprenticeship at an apothecary in Brooklyn.

She even started selling her natural health products at local craft fairs but eventually discovered they weren’t the natural products customers were looking for.

“Every time I’d go to sell them, these women would come up to me and ask for skincare and makeup stuff,” she says. “They’d come to me and be like ‘I’d buy this if you had this for face or hair or nails,’ and I thought, ‘yeah, I’d probably use that too.’”

In 2009 Hora enrolled in the Aveda Institute in New York City where she pursued her aesthetician’s license, but her savings were starting to dry up. At the same time, she needed money to buy supplies, create a website and build her new brand, Mullein and Sparrow.

To make ends meet Hora took up a day job at a spa while attending taking classes in the evenings and on weekends, building her business in what little time remained.

“I wasn’t sleeping very much in those days,” she says. “I don’t remember having any time for a social life or seeing friends, I remember being in complete isolation from everyone I knew, but it was so exciting that I didn’t see it like that.”

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After years of balancing work, school and entrepreneurship Hora got the opportunity she had been waiting for in 2014, when she received an email from a representative at one or her favorite retail chains, Anthropologie. “That was such a surreal moment for me,” says Hora. “I was like ‘how did you even find me?’”

The company was interested in selling her products in their stores, but Hora couldn’t fulfill an order of that size from her home studio, so she started looking for a line of credit and a new workspace. Even with her purchase order, Hora couldn’t get her bank to provide the capital she needed. The demand was there, but it still took time for her to develop the bandwidth to fulfill a big order.

In reflection, she says she should have put more thought into financial planning. “I would have put more thought into my budget. Organization is not my strong suit so I would have brought someone on early on to help me allocate my resources more efficiently.”

Today, M.S. Skincare has products in a range of small boutiques and major retailers around the world, including Urban Outfitters, Free People, Nordstrom, Steve Allen and Anthropologie. But the greatest validation, according to Hora, happened when she was selected for an entrepreneurship fellowship from the Tory Burch Foundation as well as Goldman Sachs’ prestigious 10,000 Small Businesses Program, despite having no formal business training.

“There’s a lot of self-doubt that comes from doing this, especially if you spend the first few years by yourself figuring it out,” she says. “You just have to believe you can do it, and keep that sense of stubborn optimism.”

By Ally Financial

Source: https://time.com

106K subscribers
Anit Hora found herself immersed in the corporate fashion world, she realized something was missing in her life. Rather than feeling invigorated by her demanding job, she felt disconnected and burned out. Determined to find out what that missing link was, Hora made a huge change: She quit her job and embarked on a solo backpacking trip through South America to do some soul searching. Flash forward several years, and Hora is a successful esthetician and herbalist, and the founder of Mullein & Sparrow — a line of vegan and organic bath, body and skincare products based in Brooklyn, New York. Sponsored by Pronamel. Download the Bustle App for more stories like these everyday: http://apple.co/1ML4jui Our Site: http://www.bustle.com Subscribe to Bustle: http://bit.ly/1IB6hbS Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bustledotcom/ Twitter: http://twitter.com/bustle Instagram: http://instagram.com/bustle Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/bustledotcom/

 

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Popeyes Chicken Sandwich, Now A Sell-Out, Is A $65 Million Marketing Win

You couldn’t watch a television news program or scour Twitter or Facebook the past week without spotting some mention of Popeyes fried chicken sandwich. But how did that translate to marketing value?

Awfully well, as it turns out.

Apex Marketing Group estimated Wednesday that Popeyes reaped $65 million in equivalent media value as a result of the Chicken Sandwich Wars.

The firm, based outside Detroit, defines that as the price a company would have to pay to purchase the attention it received for free.

Apex takes into account television, radio, online and print news reports, as well as social media mentions.

The evaluation was conducted from Aug. 12, when the sandwich went on sale nationally, through Tuesday evening, yielding 15 days’ worth of data.

Today In: Consumer

The $65 million figure is nearly triple the $23 million in media value that the sandwich generated in its first few days on sale, according to an earlier Apex estimate.

On Tuesday, Popeyes announced that the chicken sandwich would be sold out by the end of the week at its U.S. restaurants.

But it says it is scurrying to bring back the chicken sandwich as a feature of its regular menu, not simply a limited-time offer.

“It is a permanent menu item,” Dana Schopp, a Popeyes spokesperson, said Wednesday.

Eric Smallwood, the president of Apex Marketing, says the chicken sandwich’s media value built relatively slowly in the days right after it went on sale.

The big jump in media value came when news outlets began running taste tests comparing the sandwich with other fast food companies’ chicken offerings.

That coincided with social media and news reports that Popeyes restaurants were running out of sandwiches.

The Chicken Sandwich Wars have been a godsend to Popeyes’ owners, Restaurant Brands International, in their effort to raise the chicken restaurants’ profile.

RBI bought Popeyes in 2017, and has been on a drive to expand Popeyes 3,000 outlets world wide. It recently announced a Popeyes push into China.

“Popeyes is not top of mind when it comes to fast food,” Smallwood said. But thanks to the chicken sandwich, “now everybody’s looking and asking, ‘Where’s the closest Popeyes?'”

The attention that Popeyes received could not have happened a decade ago without social media, Smallwood said.

As soon as a company launches a promotion that is noticed in Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, “it picks up, and it explodes from there,” he said.

Until Popeyes launched its sandwich, Chick-fil-A was considered the fast food industry gold standard in chicken sandwiches.

McDonald’s franchise holders recently pleaded with the company to give them a sandwich that could compete with Chick-fil-A’s offering.

Now, “Popeyes comes in and steals some of the glory,” he said.

Some Twitter users have criticized the company for running out of chicken sandwiches so fast. On Tuesday, Popeyes said that it had sold the allotment it expected to have through the end of September.

But Smallwood said that’s an acceptable excuse. “Running out of a supply is ideal economics,” he said.

Depending on how Popeyes handles the sandwich’s return, “there will be a boost” to its business, Smallwood predicts.

But he doesn’t think Popeyes should handle the sandwich any differently than it already has. “I don’t want to spoil their recipe,” he says.

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I’m an alumni of the New York Times and NPR. I learned to cook from my mom, and studied with Patricia Wells and at Le Cordon Bleu. E: vmaynard@umich.edu T: @mickimaynar

Source: Popeyes Chicken Sandwich, Now A Sell-Out, Is A $65 Million Marketing Win

When Popeyes launched its fried chicken sandwich on August 12, it got a lot of positive attention — the Twitter announcement got more than 31,000 likes, which is pretty impressive considering that their posts usually get less than 400. What the world didn’t know was that tragedy was soon to strike. Popeyes ran out of chicken sandwiches before the month was over. But what’s the real reason it disappeared? And when will the Popeyes chicken sandwich be available again, if ever? To find out, we have to go back to the beginning. For the longest time, Popeyes only sold chicken pieces and tenders, with no sandwiches on their menu. They have a loyal fan following nonetheless, including the late Anthony Bourdain, who is said to have once eaten at a Popeyes buffet for three days in a row. The Popeyes chicken sandwich, made with their signature crispy fried chicken on a spicy mayo-slathered brioche bun and topped with pickles, was bound to be a hit with fans, but it had a few competitors who wanted to make their presence known when the newcomer started getting attention. Chick-fil-A, a big name in the chicken sandwich game, was compelled to tweet out an equation alluding to the fact that they have the original chicken sandwich, stating: “Bun + Chicken + Pickles = all the [love] for the original.” Popeyes wasn’t having it, tweeting a simple “… y’all good?” in response. While Chick-fil-A’s tweet got more than 23,000 likes, the reply from Popeyes got almost 325,000. Round one goes to Popeyes. Wendy’s, with its notoriously on-point Twitter game, also tried to get in the fight, posting a tweet that said: “Y’all out here fighting about which of these fools has the second best chicken sandwich.” But once again Popeyes’ reply — “Sounds like someone just ate one of our biscuits. Cause y’all looking thirsty.” — got way more engagement from customers. The fast food chicken sandwich war has officially begun. It’s not just social media hype, either. The masses seem to agree that Popeyes chicken sandwich really is superior to Chick-fil-A’s chicken sandwich, calling it better and cheaper. CBS This Morning’s Gayle King, who called 15 different Popeyes locations trying to get her hands on one, said on her first bite, Even celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse gave his version of a five-star review. He posted on Twitter that he was about to try the Popeyes chicken sandwich, and when a fan asked what he thought of it, Lagasse replied with two explosion emojis, the picture version of his famous catchphrase. But not everyone managed to try one of the chicken sandwiches. Just 15 days after they launched, Popeyes made an announcement on Twitter, dashing the dreams of hopeful diners. “Y’all. We love that you love The Sandwich. Unfortunately we’re sold out (for now).” A Popeyes spokesperson told CBS why the sandwich sold out so quickly, explaining: “The demand for the new Chicken Sandwich in the first few weeks following its launch far exceeded our very optimistic expectations. In fact, Popeyes aggressively forecasted demand through the end of September and has already sold through that inventory.” The chain hasn’t said exactly when the Popeyes chicken sandwich is coming back, only that they, along with their suppliers, are quote, “working tirelessly to bring the new sandwich back to guests as soon as possible.” If you want to know the second it becomes available, you can download the Popeyes app and enable push notifications. You’ll get an alert as soon as the sandwich hits stores, so keep gas in your car and a go-bag by the door, because you never know when the call might come. And don’t worry — once the Popeyes chicken sandwich becomes available it won’t be disappearing again. According to a Popeyes spokesperson, the chicken sandwich is permanently on the menu. That’s great for fans of the chain, but the question remains: What are we going to do with ourselves while we wait for its return? Watch the video to find out the real reason Popeyes ran out chicken sandwiches! #Popeyes #Chicken #ChickenSandwich

Singapore’s Richest 2019: ‘Popiah King’ Outfits Factory Buildout For Meat Alternatives

At 70, Singapore’s “popiah king” Sam Goi still has his sights set on expanding his food and property empire. After earning his royal sobriquet—and his $2 billion fortune—making the paper-thin crepes used to wrap spring rolls known as popiah, he is now branching out. He wants to invest in meat substitutes and other special-diet foods, and play angel investor to food startups like the one he started in 1977, Tee Yih Jia Food.

More On Forbes: Singapore’s Richest 2019: At 101, The World’s Oldest Billionaire Has No Plans To Slow Down

Today In: Asia

Goi knows something about building a brand. Privately held Tee Yih Jia (TYJ) today exports Asian food items such as spring rolls, glutinous rice balls and samosas to more than 80 countries. It’s now in the process of doubling its production capacity with a new facility due for completion in 2021.

Goi’s Singapore-listed development company GSH, however, has hit a lull. After a S$75 million windfall in 2017 from its sale of private-equity unit Plaza Ventures, net profits dropped 93% in 2018 to S$6 million on a 9% decline in revenues. That’s pushed GSH’s shares down 13% in the past year, helping pull Goi’s fortune down by $100 million.

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Goi arrived in Singapore in 1955 when he was six years old with little but the shirt on his back after his family fled China’s Fujian province in a small boat. Goi dropped out of high school, but used his training in a repair shop to gain a toehold in the food industry.

With S$450,000 borrowed from a bank and his father, he bought an underperforming food company and overhauled it, increasing production from 3,200 popiah skins a day to 25,000. In 1980, he brought in technicians to design the world’s first automated system for making spring roll pastries at the blistering rate of 30 million a day. He then branched out, pumping out fortune cookies, flatbread and samosas.

More on Forbes: Singapore’s Richest 2019: Daryl Ng Takes His Family’s Sino Group Into The Future With 5G, AI

Goi returned to his hometown in Fujian in 1985 and built his first China factory there, later adding a frozen-food facility, a brewery and a vinegar plant in other parts of China. Goi also snapped up land in China’s second-tier cities long before China’s property boom. Most of Goi’s exposure to property, though, has come through GSH, where he now has a nearly 60% stake.

TYJ also has a subsidiary in Yangzhou focused on developing residential and commercial properties in surrounding Jiangsu province. But Goi’s plans for TYJ are more food-related. Goi’s daughter Laureen, who runs TYJ Food Manufacturing, has been building a state-of-the-art food factory nearly four times larger than the present one in Singapore, with the latest in automation, including driverless vehicles.

The new facility will also have a laboratory developing new products, and TYJ may even invest in and incubate promising food ventures, furthering Goi’s legacy as a foodstuff innovator.

Correction: the original version of this story incorrectly stated Goi’s late son Ben was involved in TYJ’s factory expansion. It is his daughter Laureen. Also corrected is that the new facility is an expansion not a replacement of the existing manufacturing plant.  

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Pamela covers entrepreneurs, wealth, blockchain and the crypto economy as a senior reporter across digital and print platforms. Prior to Forbes, she served as on-air foreign correspondent for Thomson Reuters’ broadcast team, during which she reported on global markets, central bank policies, and breaking business news. Before Asia, she was a journalist at NBC Comcast, and started her career at CNBC and Bloomberg as a financial news producer in New York. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and holds an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Yahoo, USA Today, Huffington Post, and Nasdaq. Pamela’s previous incarnation was on the buy side in M&A research and asset management, inspired by Michael Lewis’ book “Liar’s Poker”. Follow me on Twitter at @pamambler

Source: Singapore’s Richest 2019: ‘Popiah King’ Outfits Factory Buildout For Meat Alternatives

First Runner Up for Singapore Heritage Short Film Competition 2018

Impossible Foods Founder Pat Brown Didn’t Want to Be an Entrepreneur, But His $2 Billion Idea Was Hard to Resist

Pat Brown isn’t an inventor so much as a reinventor. He sees something that works, but not well, and figures out how to do the same thing, only a lot better. And along the way, he’s reinvented himself into perhaps the most unlikely entrepreneur in Silicon Valley.

Brown trained as a pediatrician but, seeing that genetics figure prominently in diseases such as cancer, repurposed himself as a scientific researcher. Within a few years, he’d created something called the DNA microarray, a technology that has allowed scientists to better study genetic code. It was a breakthrough, and for most people that would be a career peak. Not Pat. In 2001, frustrated by limited worldwide access to scientific research, he co-founded the Public Library of Science, a radical revision of academic publishing.

A decade later, he saw a vastly greater inefficiency: meat. Raising and killing animals, he realized, is an environmentally expensive way to produce protein, demanding tremendous amounts of water, land, and energy. “There’s a $1.6 trillion global meat and poultry market being served by prehistoric technology,” he fumes. So Pat, then at Stanford, ditched academics for startup life. Today, he’s the founder and CEO of Impossible Foods, a company that’s reinventing meat.

Unlike entrepreneurs who tally their startups like animal heads mounted in a man cave, Brown wasn’t looking to add founder to his résumé. “I couldn’t have imagined myself doing this,” he told me over a lunch of Impossible burgers in Redwood City, California. “But the most powerful, subversive tool on earth is the free market. If you can take a problem and figure out a solution that involves making consumers happier, you’re unstoppable.”

And so, in 2011, and nearing 60, he launched Impossible Foods. First, he needed investors. “My actual pitch, if you showed it to a business school class, would’ve had people rolling in the aisles because it was so amateurish,” he admits. But he could tell potential investors, with complete conviction: What I am proposing is going to make you even more obscenely rich than you already are. “I didn’t say it in quite those words,” he notes, “but I knew that this was something that was going to be incredibly successful. And that worked.”

Oh, yeah. Starting with a $9 million round in 2011, Impossible has raised nearly $750 million, including $300 million in May. It is now valued at more than $2 billion.

To say Pat Brown is unconventional is to say that cows moo. But it’s important to celebrate him, because, though few of us are as smart, many of us are possessed of the same inspiration. We just lack the conviction that we’re the entrepreneurial type. Yet many of the best founders don’t have an MBA–what they have is a sense of opportunity, a hunch that they’re on to something the rest of the world hasn’t quite spotted. Some­thing they can’t let pass by. I was inspired by Pat to take my own leap away from a secure job and hatch my own startup.

Part of his success is that he’s honest about his capabilities. He has hired well, including a terrific operations team and an ace CFO whom he calls an “investor whisperer.” How did he know he could survive moving from scientist to CEO? He figured that, given the scope of the meat problem (massive and global), few people would actually go about trying to solve it.

He’s not a guy who places limits on himself, and that’s his message. “There’s a big phenomenon of people self-censoring, worrying about the imposter syndrome,” Brown says. “They say, ‘Someone has to do this, but I’m not the guy,’ or, ‘I’m not qualified.’ People limit their own opportunities.”

He pauses to take a big bite of burger. “There’s no road map for what we’re doing,” he continues. “But someone has to solve this problem.” He figures it might as well be him.

By: Thomas Goetz

Source: Impossible Foods Founder Pat Brown Didn’t Want to Be an Entrepreneur, But His $2 Billion Idea Was Hard to Resist | Inc.com

Impossible Foods looks to expand as the demand for meat alternatives continues to grow. The company is a leader in the food-tech industry producing plant-based foods that look at taste like meat. David Lee, CFO of Impossible Foods, joined CBSN to talk about the company and the emergence of the meatless market. Subscribe to the CBS News Channel HERE: http://youtube.com/cbsnews Watch CBSN live HERE: http://cbsn.ws/1PlLpZ7 Follow CBS News on Instagram HERE: https://www.instagram.com/cbsnews/ Like CBS News on Facebook HERE: http://facebook.com/cbsnews Follow CBS News on Twitter HERE: http://twitter.com/cbsnews Get the latest news and best in original reporting from CBS News delivered to your inbox. Subscribe to newsletters HERE: http://cbsn.ws/1RqHw7T Get your news on the go! Download CBS News mobile apps HERE: http://cbsn.ws/1Xb1WC8 Get new episodes of shows you love across devices the next day, stream CBSN and local news live, and watch full seasons of CBS fan favorites like Star Trek Discovery anytime, anywhere with CBS All Access. Try it free! http://bit.ly/1OQA29B — CBSN is the first digital streaming news network that will allow Internet-connected consumers to watch live, anchored news coverage on their connected TV and other devices. At launch, the network is available 24/7 and makes all of the resources of CBS News available directly on digital platforms with live, anchored coverage 15 hours each weekday. CBSN. Always On

The Tragedy Behind The Death of Former Billionaire V.G. Siddhartha, India’s Coffee King

As young man, V.G. Siddhartha struggled to find the right path for himself. Perhaps the armed forces? No, no—a failed entrance exam to India’s National Defense Academy put the kibosh on that idea. What about community activism? “I was impressed by the philosophies of Karl Marx,” Siddhartha recalled a few years ago, “and really thought I would become a communist leader.”

After graduating from St. Aloysius College in southern India, he struck out into the provinces, eager to put Marx’s maxims to work raising the fortunes of the poor. This proved as impractical as military service. The countryside was rife with corruption and nepotism, impeding any progressive agenda. “India was so poor that there was no scope to become a Robin Hood,” Siddhartha said. “That’s when I realized that rather than being a wealth distributor, I should become a wealth creator.”

He did just that, founding India’s largest coffee-shop chain, Coffee Day Enterprises, a $572 million-in-sales business (with more than 10,000 employees) that persuaded a country raised on tea to consume something else entirely. It made him a wealthy man, one of the richest in India and, for a brief moment after Coffee Day’s 2015 IPO, a billionaire. Siddhartha came to represent everything India dreamed of becoming: a modern nation where entrepreneurs could brew new ideas, changing their lives and the circumstances of everyone connected to them as a result. That’s a radical notion for a nation constricted by millennia-old rigidity around class, structure and expectations. Siddhartha was fully aware of this. “If I was born 20 years earlier, I would have surely failed,” he said in 2011.

In death, Siddhartha, whose body was found Wednesday morning in the Netravati River in an apparent suicide, will likely also come to represent grimmer realities: the limits of the Indian economic miracle, the constraints of creating a business within a developing market, and the alleged harassment by government officials, which would have been not unlike the corruption that disgusted him in the first place.

Siddhartha was reared on coffee, his father’s family longtime plantation owners in. He resisted following tradition, though, and after college, in 1983, he took two busses from the countryside to Bombay, where he talked his way into a meeting with one of the country’s biggest stock-brokerage businesses. (He’d read about investing in a magazine and found it interesting.) To be more precise, Siddhartha charmed the secretary of the firm’s chief executive, Mahendra Kampani, and with the secretary’s help, showed up at Kampani’s office one day.

“The first thing was, I felt intimidated by the two elevators [at the Bombay office]. I had never taken an elevator in my life. So I climbed up the six floors,”  Siddhartha later described that first day. From there, he reached Kampani’s inner sanctum. “He asked me who I was. I told him that I had come all the way from Bangalore, and I wanted to work for him. … I had never seen an office as large as his. … He said he would take me in, but he had no idea who I was.”

Quickly Siddhartha proved to be a natural. “If I started with $1,000, I made a $3,000 by the end of the day’s trade,” he said. By his own estimate, it took him only a year and a half to learn the brokerage game and build up enough wealth to launch his own book back in Bangalore. He started funneling profits into coffee plantations, amassing 2,500 acres by 1992.

Around then, the Indian government pared back regulations on coffee growers. Before, they had been forced to sell to a national clearinghouse for 35 cents a pound, less than half what the beans could fetch overseas. As the rules fell away, prices for coffee began to rise. They hit $2.20 a pound in 1994 when a freeze in Brazil decimated that country’s crop. Siddhartha picked up the slack, fulfilling orders for 4,000 tons. The unexpected boom paved the way for another idea: a string of coffee houses, modeled on a similar idea he’d seen in Singapore. In 1994, Coffee Day Enterprises opened its first 20 stores. Siddhartha was “constantly thinking and creating, never happy to rest on his success,” says Nandan Nilekani, a friend and former CEO of Infosys Technologies, an Indian technology-consulting business.

Since Siddhartha owned coffee farms, he could cut away many of the middlemen who added expenses to his rivals; he even milled timber from his properties and turned it into furniture for his restaurants. Coffee Day really took off once he added computers with internet access to his locations, creating some of India’s first cyber cafes.

What Siddhartha loved more than coffee was working, and he celebrated New Year’s Eve 2009 in a Coffee Day, taking notes on how to improve service—and going behind the counter to see firsthand how customers treated his employees. “I was simply amazed how indifferent people are to those who serve. Three rich women came, ordered their drinks, did not once look at me, and settled the check, did not care to tip me, but worse, did not say a ‘thank you’ before leaving for someplace else where revelry awaited them,” he said. “It shocked me because it was New Year’s Eve. I thought people would be nice to others because they themselves were in such a joyous state of mind.”

His industriousness was getting noticed. The following year, a group of investors, including famed KKR, put $200 million in Coffee Day for a 34% stake. Revenue was then around $200 million, and sales nearly doubled within four years, the point when Siddhartha took his company public. His caffeinated kingdom extended across India, to 1,513 cafes in 219 cities. But to keep expanding, Siddhartha grew addicted to something that would, apparently, weigh heavily on his mind at the end of his life: debt financing. Coffee Day’s total liabilities blossomed from $189 million in 2011 to $758 million last year.

Earlier in 2019, Siddhartha began searching for a way to answer demands from his growing mountain of creditors. He tried, futilely, to talk Coca-Cola into buying a stake in Coffee Day and explored other asset sales, desperate to widen his cash stream. In a more mature economy, he might have secured different sorts of funding from the beginning—presumably the private equity investors he attracted in 2010 pushed him to load up on debt—or had the opportunity to borrow at less onerous rates. We’ll never know what would have happened had that been the case. But on July 29, Siddhartha switched his phone off, instructed his driver to take him to the Ullal Bridge over the Netravati River, got out of the car and was never seen alive again.

Purportedly, Siddhartha left behind a note, outlining the grief that drove him to his tragic end. He highlighted harassment from a tax official, prompting outcries from Indian politicians that the government has not done enough to boost entrepreneurs like Siddhartha and tamp down on corruption. Siddhartha also mentioned needing to borrow a large sum from a friend to stay afloat and, of course, mounting pressure from lenders. “My intention was never to cheat or mislead anyone, I have failed as an entrepreneur,” the letter reads. “This is my sincere submission, I hope someday you will understand, forgive and pardon me.”

The missive’s authenticity has not been verified. But its ending is certainly very Siddhartha, a cool-minded tabulation and twin insistences: that he hoped his assets would outweigh his liabilities and that, in the end, his family and business “can repay everyone.”

At Forbes, I cover the world’s wealthiest capitalists, as well as other entrepreneurs. For ForbesLife and Forbes’ lifestyle pages, I write about life’s greatest indulgences, including the finest chefs, food and booze

 

Source: The Tragedy Behind The Death of Former Billionaire V.G. Siddhartha, India’s Coffee King

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