Founder Of Abcoffee, Abhijeet Anand Is Full Of Beans

Founder Of Abcoffee, Abhijeet Anand Is Full Of Beans

Two years since its founding, AbCoffee has seen massive growth, with 33 branches across the country. At its core is Founder and CEO Abhijeet Anand who has spent 1100+ days working on his brand with no days off and claims, “My energy levels have only gone up!”

Tsunami CostaBirUpdated: Monday, April 08, 2024, 12:05 PM IST
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Abhijeet Anand |

It’s high energy at AbCoffee’s office in Mumbai. While their hands-on founder buzzed around the office, we managed to sit him down for a chat where he took us, through time, around the world on his life’s journey - Jamalpur, Dhanbad, Assam, Romania, and now Mumbai. And we lived vicariously. 

Abhijeet has an extraordinary story, coming from the humble roots of a small village in Bihar. He chose to do his engineering and made the cut for Kendriya Vidyalaya, Muzaffarpur. Reluctantly, he made his way to secure his admission but in his heart, he aspired to be an IITian. 

On entering the institution, Abhijeet stepped into a rangoli and like most of us would do when we make a mistake, he took a step back and looked around - to see if anyone had caught him. That’s when his eyes landed on the noticeboard. 

The rangoli was made for an IIT graduate who had come to the college to deliver a lecture. And that hit Abhijeet hard. “I realised, I couldn’t do this. If I was going to do my engineering, it would have to be from IIT.” So instead of paying the fees, he collected his certificates from the Admissions Office and left for home.

This act of rebellion - not stopping until he got what he wanted - set a precedent for the rest of his life. Abhijeet went on to secure a 100% FIITJEE scholarship for both tuition and the hostel, and the following year, qualified for IIT Dhanbad. 

His life became about chasing challenges. 

He attacked IIT with all he could, securing many firsts and chose to do his degree in Petroleum Engineering. He took up a job with Schlumberger, made groundbreaking strides as a professional, and did seven completely different job roles in the same company over a period of nine years.

The time he lived in Assam on a project is what he describes as the most challenging. But the periods of isolation and not having much to do gave him the time and space to think. 

“I would meditate, I got into manifesting and I wrote out a life plan for until the year 2047. I have a milestone every five years. I know what I want to do. How am I going to do it? I don't know.”

Abhijeet even lived in Romania for a while - an opportunity he got just nine months after he said he wanted to go to Europe. Why did he come back? Because “Europe is good for people who want a balance - not for me! Sure, the standard of living is amazing and I saved up 90% of my salary, but living a life of comfort didn’t feel good - I didn’t get a kick out of it.”

So he came back to India in 2021 with a plan. “I thought about starting something in wine, but it is a highly regulated and controlled space.” The coffee lover had something else in store for him.

India is one of the largest exporters of coffee but within the country, it is luxurified - when it shouldn't be. However, the coffee consumption in India has been going up. 

“There is a trend in most countries that as the GDP increases, the spending on coffee grows - because of the increase in disposable income.” 

As for the coffee offerings in India, “your coffee is either Rs 10 or Rs 250 - where at Rs 10 they’re selling you just anything, and at Rs 250 they’re selling you space.” That in-between is where Abhijeet saw opportunity.  

Abhijeet set up AbCoffee on the 2nd of June 2022 and since that first outlet, 33 more have been launched in Delhi NCR and Mumbai. His goal for the brand is to have 10,000 outlets pan India. Their coffee is sourced from Chikmagalur in Karnataka and their coffee is roasted and brewed to suit the Indian palate for something thicker, denser and bolder. 

With prices significantly more affordable than the international coffee chains at Rs 100 and Rs 150 a cup, Abhijeet’s goal is to do away with the “good things are expensive” perception. “We had to communicate to people that yes, the coffee is better and is also better priced.”

AbCoffee is looking 20 years ahead while building a takeaway coffee shop template in India. “Things that excite me are things that are big. I want the business to build up over decades, if not centuries, and keep entering neighbourhoods where we think the people need to be consuming our coffee.” 

What he is doing is unprecedented, coming from a state like Bihar. “33, still single, selling coffee, first entrepreneur from the family…” In March, AbCoffee raised USD 3.4 million in their series A funding round. Prior to that, they raised USD 2 million in their seed round of funding in September 2021. 

Building a team is his other challenge. “AbCoffee is my baby - if I have anyone other than me doing it, it's like co-parenting.” They hire from lower stratas in society, seeing their potential, and invest in training them in soft skills and as baristas. “If I'm going to open 10,000 outlets, I’m going to need people.”

Abhijeet Anand’s coffee tank is all fueled up and he’s racing ahead at full speed. 

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