By Vidya Pradhan
The typical Silicon Valley success story has to do with chips, b(y)tes, outsourcing and lots and lots of dough. Well, so does our story, though not in the way you might think. It all started when the bottom fell out of the hardware market in the early part of this century. Mani Krishnan, who had been making a comfortable living exporting computers, printers and peripherals to India, suddenly found himself in the unfamiliar territory of having to hound his Indian distributors for collections.
Having made a resolve never to work for anyone else ever again, Mani was scouting around for ideas for a new business when a friend commented on the lack of good South Indian coffee in the Bay Area Indian stores. A tie-up with 777, a Chennai based company selling various Indian processed foods led to the seeds of a new business, now importing goods into the US instead of the other way around. Mani’s fragrant godown in Mountain View now stocks pickles, sambar powder, puliyogare paste and of course many different brands of ‘kapi’ but the secret to the success of his fledgling company is – batter!