KADAPA: Leaving behind their bright career as software engineers, two IT professionals returned to their roots in Kadapa district to start a supermarket chain that now employs hundreds. After graduating from BITS, Pilani in 2012, both worked for various multinational firms in the country and abroad for years.
Neeraj Menta and Anil Tontepu, however, gave it all up to start SuperK, which in a short span of time has became a major employer of rural youths with its franchises spread over the entire Rayalaseema. Their business, with its primary focus on the rural parts, even has graduates from premier institutes such as BITS, Pilani, Indian School of Business and IITs as employees, who also own shares in it.
Anil initially worked for Hike Messenger and, later, started his own firm Flabren, which he sold to By News and worked for it for some time. Thereafter he worked for Phonepay and Kodiam, a Malyasian-based company. Meanwhile, Neeraj co-founded Hunger Box, which he sold later, and worked in Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and Philippines. Both friends, who kept in touch, decided to start their own business taking inspiration from their parents and families.
Anil’s parents own and manage rice, flour and paper mills, while Neeraj’s uncles operate mandis. “We wanted to start a business in our motherland and chose Kadapa,” Neeraj and Anil told TNIE. They focused on rural parts of the State as part of their business model, where most of the big players in the sector have failed to establish themselves. “We focused on providing quality essential commodities at economical prices, which the local kirana shops cannot provide. We offer franchises similar to Subway and McDonald’s. It took us eight months to complete all the groundwork,” Neeraj added.
They set up their first store at NGO Colony of Kadapa town in December 2019 and started providing franchises, which required one to invest Rs 9 lakh to Rs 12 lakh. One per cent incentive is offered to those who are regular in their payments and each franchise holder is earning profits of Rs 70,000 to Rs 1 lakh per month. In just a few years, the SuperK stores expanded throughout Rayalaseema and, at present, there are over 35 such stores.
The enterprising duo said: “Instead of waiting for someone to help you, it is better to help yourself and others. Odds and obstacles will always be there and some may make fun of you or discourage you. But success will be theirs who believe in themselves and strive till the last.”