VG Siddhartha’s last letter mentions mental pressure in a stressful business environment, which culminated to the horrific ‘submission’ of the Café Coffee Day Founder. Here’s what the Corporate World has to say.
An extremely smart entrepreneur with family stronghold in business and elite political connections. The demise of the founder of India’s largest Café chain and arguably a cultural pioneer, VG Siddhartha brought Indian coffee culture out of the colonial dark and dingy Coffee Houses to vibrant joints with a positive vibe and hope. His tagline: A lot can happen over a cup of coffee, resonates with millions of Indians who have their own CCD moments.
I did not know him & have no knowledge of his financial circumstances. I only know that entrepreneurs must not allow business failure to destroy their self-esteem. That will bring about the death of entrepreneurship. https://t.co/H4ysr8Ov3U— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) July 30, 2019
Way too many startups and early stage investments in India begin with endless sips of coffee with founders at #CafeCoffeeDay and other Cafe across the country! #VGSiddhartha powered this ecosystem with his bold vision.#RIPSiddhartha .. a successful entrepreneur! https://t.co/Gc55CTZ35v— Ghanshyam Tiwari (@ghanshyamtiwari) July 31, 2019
I had known #VGSiddhartha personally and was always amazed at his energy and positivity. Distressed by his disappearance. He has been an inspiring entrepreneur and investor.— Sachin Bansal (@_sachinbansal) July 30, 2019
Deeply saddened by the sudden demise of #VGSiddhartha.A great dynamic entrepreneur of our time, he did show us how a humble coffee can create numerous job opportunities for many, his journey as an entrepreneur and his work towards charity shall always be remembered. RIP pic.twitter.com/AoTcjxiSwn— Puneeth Rajkumar (@PuneethRajkumar) July 31, 2019
The death of V G Siddhartha is both disturbing &mysterious. The reasons & the invisible hands that ended his life in this tragic way should be unearthed through impartial &fair investigation.— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) July 31, 2019
Our party & I shall always stand with Shri. S M Krishna in their fight for justice.
But the drastic step which saw his demise is as alarming as it is saddening. The 58-year-old businessman had a powerful father-in-law in former Karnataka Chief Minister and Union Minister for External Affairs (UPA II) SM Krishna. The sudden demise of a brilliant brain who created a masterpiece venture is being consoled by many.
I did not know him & have no knowledge of his financial circumstances. I only know that entrepreneurs must not allow business failure to destroy their self-esteem. That will bring about the death of entrepreneurship. – Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group
The demise of the VG Siddhartha is a dark day for the budding entrepreneur ecosystem of India. Financial stress should not weigh in on personal health. Young entrepreneurs need to learn that failure is not an irreversible endgame. – Manav Goel, MD, Woodkraft India
It seems to indicate that the Private Equity fund manager acted like a money lender n seems to have caused unbearable stress – needs to be investigated. – Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairperson and MD, Biocon Limited
I had known #VGSiddhartha personally and was always amazed at his energy and positivity. Distressed by his disappearance. He has been an inspiring entrepreneur and investor. – Sachin Bansal, Co-founder and ex-CEO, FlipKart
The #VGSiddhartha news is just stunning. He certainly wasnt a failed entrepreneur! Black letter day for startups & entrepreneurship in India!
Has to be said – new age startups are lucky to be (largely) funded by equity, debt driven businesses are far more harsh & stressful. – Amit Ranjan, Co-Founder, Slideshare, Architect, National DigiLocker Project
There are questions being raised
His last letter, undersigned by VG Siddhartha mentions that the entrepreneur considered himself a failure and unable to create a ‘profitable business’.
Siddhartha’s letter says he ‘fought for a long time’ but ‘gave up as I could not take any more pressure’. Death of such a dynamic entrepreneur is deeply saddening.
It seems to indicate that the Private Equity fund manager acted like a money lender n seems to have caused unbearable stress – needs to be investigated pic.twitter.com/DYKjTnRU0Q— Kiran Mazumdar Shaw (@kiranshaw) July 30, 2019
My profound Condolences to #VGSiddhartha ‘s entire family. Very Very tragic what happened. Allegedly Harassed & hounded to commit Suicide by among others a yet unnamed DG of the Income Tax going by the document in the public space. May his soul rest in peace .— Manish Tewari (@ManishTewari) July 31, 2019
Am sad to learn that #VGSiddhartha is no more. Am told by my friends @HMOKarnataka that investigations are on to find out if this was a suicide or murder. My deepest condolences are with all his loved ones, a bit more with his widow Malavika and father-in-law SM Krishna Ji.— Suparno Satpathy (@SuparnoSatpathy) July 31, 2019
Sad. Met him a couple of times & he came across as really decent. Does someone say ‘please find enclosed assets’ in suicide note? If assets outstripped liabilities, why suicide? Unless ‘debtors’ wanted to claim their pound of flesh as ‘dead man’s last wish’? @anuraag_saxena https://t.co/OTvjpxrIaA— Seshadri Shankar (@SeshShankar) July 31, 2019
So much for a ‘business-friendly’ New India
He also alleged ‘harassment’ by a senior income tax officer and undue ‘pressure’ from private equity partners. The letter emanates of information hidden from public domain, even pointing at some malpractices.
But it also cites pressure in a stressful business environment, which culminated to the horrific ‘submission’ of the Café Coffee Day Founder.
An amazing entrepreneur driven to despair by banks and agencies, was left with no option but to commit suicide.— TANUJ GARG (@tanuj_garg) July 31, 2019
This,while certified criminals roam scot free in and outside the country.
My condolences to the family of #VGSiddhartha.#RIPSiddhartha #TaxTerrorism #CCDFounderDead
Unable to cope with abuse of state instrumentalities, never ending regulatory compliances, bad policies, political meddling & economic slowdown architects of India’s corporate empires are ending their lives. It has come to ‘unease of doing business’ in India.#VGSiddhartha— Raghav Chadha (@raghav_chadha) July 30, 2019
“Ease of Doing Business” under BJP translates into “Ease of Ending Business”. The #VGSiddhartha tragedy reflects the worst of a broader, deeply worrying trend: https://t.co/9aeN6930Hk https://t.co/52ZmK3toDj— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) July 31, 2019
#Taxtortion : the reality of New India. A businessman who built a great local brand competing with the world’s best in Starbucks is dead. He killed himself. #MakeInIndia has blood on its hands. But gutless Corporate India loves him. Good luck! #VGSiddhartha pic.twitter.com/ZMAoF3AGec— Sanjay Jha (@JhaSanjay) July 31, 2019
If this note of #VGSiddhartha is genuine,he complains on Govt officials harassment which needs to be enquired into.— Priyank Kharge (@PriyankKharge) July 30, 2019
Also this brings into spotlight if the bankruptcy laws in India need a relook. Currently most laws dissuade entrepreneurship & kill ailing businesses here. pic.twitter.com/VMepuvlqJG
Why a brave entrepreneur like VG Siddhartha succumbed?
It has been reported that out of VG Siddhartha’s 56.93% share in Coffee Day Enterprises, 76% had been pledged to banks and lenders as collateral for loans. This was the result of VG Siddhartha witnessing ‘deteriorating fundamentals and eroding stock values’ of CCD.
The #VGSiddhartha news is just stunning. He certainly wasnt a failed entrepreneur!— Amit Ranjan (@amitranjan) July 30, 2019
Black letter day for startups & entrepreneurship in India!
Has to be said – new age startups are lucky to be (largely) funded by equity, debt driven businesses are far more harsh & stressful #CCD https://t.co/xDisccn2U1
With #VGSiddhartha‘s death, India has lost a great entrepreneur. He created over 50,000 jobs, yet he was pushed to the brink of desperation. India needs a better business environment. Entrepreneurs should be encouraged to thrive, not wither away. #CafeCoffeeDay #Entrepreneurs pic.twitter.com/keizCrQrtQ— M B Patil (@MBPatil) July 31, 2019
Tragic! Leaves all of us with a lot to introspect. So many people in Govt are vested with powers to inflict collateral damage to businesses with negligible accountability. It takes yrs to build businesses but days to destroy. https://t.co/mWTNsrfehU— Anil Bhardwaj (@abhardwaj_fisme) July 31, 2019
Forget about dealing with markets/suppliers/customers/investors/employees/stake holders. Managing the systematic harassment by the State n it’s pliant agencies is the biggest challenge. IT, ED, CBI, ROC etc are the biggest impediments for ease of business https://t.co/3KOpweDDbC— Karti P Chidambaram (@KartiPC) July 31, 2019
I am indirectly related to VG Siddhartha. Excellent human and brilliant entrepreneur. I am devastated with the contents of his letter. The Govt Agencies and Banks can drive anyone to despair. See what they are doing to me despite offer of full repayment. Vicious and unrelenting.— Vijay Mallya (@TheVijayMallya) July 30, 2019
With the market slump further degrading the Coffee Day share price, this stake might end up in the lender’s hands, taking away the control of the company from the promoter.
The alleged business pressure that can be sensed from VG Siddhartha’s letter has created a political and corporate furore which brings out the topic of debate.
Why is India’s business environment stressful due to regressive policies and bureaucratic loopholes which end up being detrimental to business growth and to the mental health of a brave entrepreneur, as in the case of the Coffee King.