Thursday, December 19, 2013

Meet R. Subramanian of Subhiksha

How you doing?

I have not interviewed him so,

if you thought so, well! let's keep that to the future.

These are collection of some details about this person collected from a bestseller book.
Well, he had a keeda of doing something of his own, that is what he calls his secret behind the Subhiksha. He left his job with Citi Corp. within 15 days after getting the IIMA degree.

I learned about Subhiksha from Rashmi Bansal's Stay Hungry Stay foolish.  R Subramanian is discussed on the 6th chapter and what amazes me about him is,without having any knowledge of finances he started a finance company.

At the same time he is trusted by the chairman and owner of Enfield Mr. S Viswanathan who produced the money of about 2.5 crores, for turning this wild thought in Subramanian's mind into a reality.

Mr. Viswanathan was the employer of Subramanian, and  Subramanian turned Enfield into a success I think that is what makes Viswanathan to lend him the money without any written document. He has big trust in him.

This money he used to produce a financial services company "Viswapriya Financial services and securities LTd." and then after initial success they were bumped with boring schedule. He went further into another idea where again he had very little knowledge.

He experimented with the retailing and with "Subhiksha" he wanted to prove that an Indian model of retailing can also work.  He started with Chennai and took quite long to open 50 stores but then suddenly in almost 7 years in 2007 1000 stores in various parts of country and around 1600 in 2008.

Going with the currents of the tide is the philosophy behind his business, he admits that he has never thought of having 1600 retail stores and it would have been difficult if he had thought of doing that in starting.

Now, that might sound like a lack of vision to others.

Starting with the small is what worked for R Subramanian. His story along with other IIMA alumni,  turned into entrepreneurs makes this book a wonderful collection and gives a good account of them up to 2007.

That is the story before the book was written, Subhiksha chairman R.Subramanian made mistake in the year 2008. According to an online article written by N. Madhavan published on June 28, 2009, titled "Pushing the accelerator instead of brakes" in the commentators say that it is impossible for him to make a comeback in the retailing.

It was easy to boom up while there were no other players in but when the other groups like Reliance and Birla came in it is almost impossible for them to survive with the debts and the chaos that has been built up.

News are that Mr. Azim Premji the founder of Wipro and ICICI who  once praised this poster boy of Indian retail market at older time, now are openly accusing the Subhiksha because they had bought the shares of the company.

Subhiksha got closed down in the year 2009 due to the financial problems and has merged with a Chennai based company called "Blue Green Constructions". According to wikipedia Azim Premji and ICICI opposed this move of the company to merge with another company.

There are a numbers of stories about the failures of this company after almost getting touched the sky, and there is something to learn from them. He had this keeda in him and I think it is still alive and as you know it always gets stronger and wise with experience so, this will not be a surprise if R Subramanian does something amazing and surprising, more than before.

Thank you, for reading!

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