From startup ideas on CCD napkins to coffee dates: R Ashwin, Innoz boss remember VG Siddhartha's legacy - Economic Times

From startup ideas on CCD napkins to coffee dates: R Ashwin, Innoz boss remember VG Siddhartha's legacy - Economic Times

From startup ideas on CCD napkins to coffee dates: R Ashwin, Innoz boss remember VG Siddhartha's legacy - Economic Times

Posted: 31 Jul 2019 05:25 AM PDT

The tragic demise of Café Coffee Day owner VG Siddhartha left the nation in shock, and mourning. Four days before he was found dead at Mangalore's Hoige Bazaar on Wednesday, the the coffee tycoon left a heart-wrenching letter addressed to his CCD family, saying that he 'failed as an entrepreneur'.

"I hope someday you will understand, forgive and pardon me," he wrote in the emotional letter.

As tributes poured in for the 60-year-old, several business leaders, sports stars and celebrities shared fond memories of the brand that Siddhartha built, changing how the country drank coffee.

Cricketer Ravichandran Ashwin said that his 'first memories of going out with friends and having a cup of coffee happened only with the inception of Cafe Coffee Day'.

Pirate Fund founder Deepak Ravindran said that he wrote his first business plan on a napkin at CCD for raising the first round of funding for Innoz Technologies.

Remembering the legacy that he built, hotelier Kapil Chopra, wrote, "You did not fail, you won the hearts of millions of Indians who mourn your passing away."

Actor Puneeth Rajkumar called Siddhartha 'a great dynamic entrepreneur of our time', saying "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."

Actors Danish Sait, Mugdha Godse, and cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle also took to Twitter to pay tribute.

Remembering VG Siddhartha, The Man Who Introduced Coffee Culture In India

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A Tragic Loss

31 Jul, 2019

The disappearance and demise of Café Coffee Day owner VG Siddhartha left the country in shock. On Saturday, the coffee tycoon wrote a letter addressed to his 'Coffee Day' family where he apologised to them for failing as an entrepreneur and opened up about the pressure he had been dealing with. On Monday he went missing from Mangaluru, and 36 hours later his body was recovered by the fishermen in the city's Hoige Bazaar.The tragic episode saw tributes pour in for the billionaire businessman, whose 'A lot can happen over a coffee' idea brought enthusiasts closer and sparked the trend of coffee dates in India.Despite running a mega empire, the camera-shy 60-year-old tycoon preferred to stay away from the limelight and mostly maintained a low-profile.

Reality-TV Born Startup Clearbanc Raises $300 Million to Help Companies Buy Instagram Ads - Fortune

Posted: 31 Jul 2019 10:12 AM PDT

Toronto-based startup Clearbanc, which funds companies' purchases of Facebook and Instagram ads in exchange for a fee, has raised $300 million in new funding.

Of that capital, $50 million is a Series B equity investment led by Highland Capital, with iNovia and Emergence Capital also participating. The remaining $250 million will go into Clearbanc's third fund, which it uses to invest in e-commerce companies under unique terms: Clearbanc fronts the money startups need to purchase digital ads, but instead of taking an ownership stake, Clearbanc charges a 6% flat fee, taking a share of the companies' revenue until it is paid back.

Clearbanc grew out out of an idea co-founder Michele Romanow had while on the set of the reality television series Dragons' Den, a Canadian startup pitch show similar to Shark Tank in the U.S. Romanow, who has been part of the cast of venture capitalists judging startups' ideas since 2015, made an offer to an entrepreneur who was pitching a wooden iPhone case, asking for $100,000 to fund a digital marketing campaign. Rather than take equity in the company for that investment, Romanow offered to provide the money as long as the company agreed to pay her 5% of its sales until she'd received the $100,000 back plus the interest fee.

"They knew at that point that when they invested $10 in ad spend, they made a $50 sale," Romanow recalls. "It was the inspiration behind the model."

Fast-forward to today, and Clearbanc is on track to invest $1 billion, according to Romanow, in companies' digital ad spending this year—making a 6% return its investments, equating to $60 million in revenue.

While Clearbanc did not disclose its current valuation, one venture capitalist says its new funding values the company around $300 million.

Clearbanc describes itself as an alternative to venture capital, attractive to startups that don't want to give away their own equity, as well as those seeking amounts of money to get the attention of Silicon Valley VCs. The amount of money Clearbanc invests in each company ranges from $10,000 to $10 million, says Romanow.

Most of the money Clearbanc invests goes to purchases of Facebook and Instagram ads, though ads on Google, Pinterest and Twitter make up a smaller share. The reason Facebook and Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) are so popular, Romanow says, is that small e-commerce companies can start with ad purchases of just $100 a day. "You can start really small, but also it's so big that it allows you to scale very quickly," she says. "You can get to $5 million to $10 million [in sales] on just Facebook ads."

One example: A company called Hunt a Killer, a murder mystery game where customers subscribe to boxes of clues via mail, to which Clearbanc initially gave $10,000. As the company grew over the past two years, Clearbanc extended it a total of more than $8 million. "He has a huge business and owns 100% of his company, which I think is pretty amazing," Romanow says.

With Clearbanc's own newly raised capital, it's looking into other areas where it could apply its model, such as shipping costs, or commissions to salespeople—something essential to many startups' growth, but which companies often fund with VC dollars, according to Romanow. They're looking for "anything repeatable in a business" where spending can predict sales, she explains. "If you're shipping a product at an e-commerce store, you're not shipping that without some level of revenue."

That's revenue Clearbanc could take a cut of to sustain its own business.

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