KOZHIKODE: Amid the volley of arguments both in favour of and against the demonetisation announced by the BJP-NDA Government in November 2016, it couldn't have happened at a more inopportune time to two budding businessmen here. Nousheer K, a Gulf returnee, and Mirshad K, a BTech graduate, both in their early thirties - who are cousins - recall how demonetisation shattered their entrepreneurial dreams.
'ChikB', the food startup, launched by the duo barely nine months before the Centre's note ban, was forced to wind up within weeks of it going on stream due to the ensuing cash crunch. Numerous attempts to relaunch the business did not succeed and in April last year, they decided to shut it down permanently. The total loss incurred by the duo was Rs six lakh.
'ChikB' is a startup delivering the lip-smacking 'Kozhikode biryani'. They developed a mobile app to receive orders for the delectable fare priced at Rs 120 apiece. It had a dream start as the company which had just five employees, including the founders, in the beginning, increased the headcount to 10 within four months.
The initial investment was Rs four lakh and the daily revenue ranged between Rs 3,000-Rs 4,000 in the beginning. During October last week, the revenue jumped to around Rs 25,000. By that time they started receiving orders for birthday parties and office get-togethers. Just as things started looking up - the duo also raised Rs two lakh to scale up operations - demonetisation struck them like a bolt of lightning. When PM Narendra Modi made the announcement, the duo was in the midst of a discussion in a bakery at Eranhipalam here, to scale up the company's operations.
"For next few days, there was utter confusion. There were barely any orders. When we spoke to chicken stall owners, the reality unravelled. No one was buying anything. We went through a terrible patch," Mirshad said.
The company could not even generate revenue to meet daily running costs. By November-end the founders decided to shutter the firm and resume business after the new Rs 500 denomination notes were issued. Finally, they resumed operations in December, but the business did not prosper.
"There were hardly any orders and we did not get funds to run the startup. Because people had no money to spend. So, we closed it down again," Mirshad said.
Later, to make both ends meet they parted ways and decided to work under others. While Nousheer joined a private insurance company as insurance advisor, Mirshad started working as the business development manager in another firm.