Chandubhai Virani, the visionary entrepreneur, is the driving force behind one of India’s largest chips companies, Balaji Wafers, with a valuation exceeding Rs 4,000 crore. His inspiring success story serves as a testament to determination and resilience.
Born into a family of farmers, Chandubhai’s journey faced adversity early on. A drought compelled his father, Popatbhai Virani, to sell the family’s farming land for Rs 20,000. This amount was entrusted to Chandubhai and his brothers to embark on a business venture. Initially, they delved into the fertilizer and farm equipment business, which unfortunately met with failure. Subsequently, the Virani brothers found themselves working at Astron Cinema.
Their breakthrough came when they acquired the cinema’s canteen and commenced selling homemade wafers. Named after a temple on the cinema premises, these wafers gained popularity over time. For the initial 15 years, the Virani brothers produced the chips at their residence, establishing a local following in Rajkot city. Witnessing their business growth, Chandubhai decided to establish a potato wafer facility near Rajkot. In 1992, Balaji Wafers Private Limited was officially founded, with four facilities strategically located across the country.
Chandubhai Virani’s unwavering determination and foresight propelled him to become a mogul in the potato wafer industry, earning him the moniker ‘Sultan of Wafers.’ Balaji Wafers holds a dominant position in the Western market, boasting a substantial market share in its home state. The company’s quality and diverse chip offerings even garnered the attention of PepsiCo, the maker of Lay’s chips, reportedly exploring a stake in Balaji Wafers.
As of the fiscal year 2021, Balaji Wafers reported an astounding revenue of Rs 4,000 crore. The company is a significant employer, with a workforce of 5,000 individuals, notably featuring a commendable 50% representation of women. Chandubhai Virani’s remarkable journey stands as an inspiration, showcasing the transformative power of resilience and entrepreneurial spirit in the face of challenges.