Hat Tip: Dr. Vijay Malik
The objective was to venture where no Indian pharmaceutical marketing company or trader had been before. The more dangerous they said it was going to be, the deeper one was willing to venture.
Which is how Caplin Point ventured to Angola in the Nineties.
There were two challenges in this African country; we did not know anyone who would be interested in marketing and distributing products on our behalf; the prevailing environment was so unsafe that it was usual for businessmen to be held at gunpoint in broad daylight and relieved of their possessions.
Even as this reality was forbidding, the business reality was that there was a large market for the simplest of pharmaceutical products; consumers were willing to pay a premium across the counter for immediate availability. We resolved our challenges through a lateral initiative – we managed a restaurant for Indian cuisine.
The decision was deliberate; the launch of the restaurant was positioned as high-profile, translating into attractive media visibility; soon the walkin patrons comprised the city’s prominent and influential; we commuted every two months from Chennai to manage operations in that country.
The labors paid off; we were able to forge profitable engagements with prospective distributors and our Angola operations, starting from the restaurant,emerged as the foundation on which the later success of Caplin Point would be built.