Less than 24 hours since VG Siddhartha, the founder-owner of Cafe Coffee Day, went missing, a letter addressed to the Board of Directors and his employees was discovered. The letter says he was disturbed over his “failure to create the right business model” despite his “best efforts” and talks about the liabilities of his business.
The police are yet to find any trace of Siddhartha, who was last seen by his driver near Ullal bridge across Netravati river in Karnataka's Mangaluru.
Siddhartha's letter tells a story of liabilities, stress and financial woes. But this wasn't always the case.
The Karnataka-based businessman was born in Chikkamagaluru to a family who were into coffee plantation for over 130 years. He earned his Bachelors degree in arts from the University of Mysore and masters degree in Economics from Mangalore University in Karnataka. He went on to work for JM Financial Limited from 1983 to 1984 as a management trainee.
Two years later, he went back home and started purchased an investments consultancy firm called Sivan Securities with the money lent by his father.
The Cafe Coffee Day story started as 'Coffee Day Global' in 1993 and soon pioneered the coffee culture in the chained café segment in India. “It was a cup that brought coffee aficionados, budding coffee drinkers, and well, friends together over a cup of freshly brewed coffee,” reads a message on the official CCD website.
The CCD brand was launched in 1995 and the first cafe outlet was opened in 1996 in Bengaluru. It soon expanded to more than 200 cities across India. As of March 2018, there are 1,772 outlets across 245 cities in India. In 2018, it became India’s largest café chain with close to 2,700 retail coffee points across the country and 47,500+ vending machines across corporate India, reported Coffee Day Annual report 2018.
In 2000, Sivan Securities was renamed as Way2wealth Securities Ltd and brought under CCD's group of companies.
“The visionary behind Way2Wealth, Mr. V.G. Siddhartha, 55, is the Chairman and Managing Director of our Company. He holds a bachelors degree in arts from the University of Mysore. V.G. Siddhartha has a long association with coffee, given the family’s interests in coffee plantations in Southern India for more than 130 years, and he has an experience of approximately 22 years in the coffee business. He set up CDGL in 1993 to export coffee beans and later forayed into coffee retailing in different formats in India. He also set up his own stock broking firm, Sivan & Co., at Bengaluru,” says a note on VG Siddhartha.
Over time, Coffee Day became one of India’s leading coffee exporters with clients across Europe, the Middle East, South East Asia and North America. It market cap was valued at Rs 32.41 Billion.
In 2001, the company opened its first international in Vienna. Today, there are 18 CCD outlets in places like Austria, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Malaysia and Nepal.
Siddhartha is married to Malavika Hegde, daughter of former Karnataka Chief Minister SM Krishna. The husband-wife duo reportedly own a 57 percent stake in Coffee Day Enterprises.
Siddhartha also owned a stake in IT firm Mindtree, which he sold to infrastructure giant Larsen & Toubro in March this year.
Siddhartha was recognized as The Entrepreneur of the Year by Economic Times in September 2003. In 2014, he was awarded with ET Retail Hall of Fame for his contribution to the growth in retail sector.