Bhanu Choudhrie is the founder of C&C Alpha Group, a private equity firm with a heavy stake in emerging markets. From healthcare to real estate to hospitality to aviation, the firm has established a strong international presence and played a key role in the expansion of niche categories across a variety of markets.
We’ll look at how his business began and how that foundation has been instrumental in overcoming the uncertainty of today.
The Coronavirus Impact
All successful business leaders need to be able to adapt to new landscapes, and the economic lockdown was no exception. Two of Choudhrie’s focused markets, aviation and hospitality, are going to be feeling the negative effects of COVID-19 for years to come. Despite this reality, he also sees the possibilities for reinvention. Every crisis brings about new needs, and this remains true regardless of the market.
How to Invest
As a venture capitalist, Choudhrie believes in the power of long-term partnerships. This hands-on approach means incubating and growing companies rather than pushing for quick exits. For instance, Alpha Hospitals is a health care provider specializing in mental health care. From conception to sale, C&C Alpha Group worked in partnership with the firm for 13 years to scale the company before selling it to Cygnet Health Care.
The firm is very careful about who they do business with, primarily because they know just how much time and energy they’ll be investing in the operation. His team might take on a small start-up, even when they know the enterprise needs handholding, but they’ll also help more established companies break into new territories.
Choudhrie has a team of project managers, developers, analysts, and consultants, all of whom he values the counsel of. Whether providing management support or leveraging their long list of international contacts, C&C Alpha Group does everything in its power to help companies get off the ground.
With the reputation the firm has built for looking after its companies, Choudhrie has the luxury now to pick from myriad investment opportunities, but this wasn’t always so. At the beginning, his initial forays into the airline industry, carried significant risk – you can see this in his first major investment, a small budget airline with barely any capacity. This was an acknowledged gamble, but it paid off, in just five years, Air Deccan was running 200 flights every day and had 7 million customers a year.
The Bright Side
There are some key opportunities that Choudhrie sees in a few specific investments. One being Alpha Aviation Group, a pilot training business that his equity firm has been growing for nearly a decade and a half.
The reputation of Alpha Aviation Group for cadet training is excellent in the international community and especially lauded for its Equal Opportunity policies. It’s set up a number of partnerships with different carriers in the Asia Pacific region. Choudhrie expects a consolidation of pilot training companies, but he also expects the airlines to change how they train their pilots. In an effort to cut costs, they may be looking for more decentralized methods to staff their fleets. Alpha Aviation Group can grow by appealing to different carriers and ensuring they have a solid pool of candidates within arm’s length.
Staying the Course
Bhanu Choudhrie recognizes how the pandemic has caused chaos in nearly every corner of the world. However, he also keeps his eyes on the bigger picture. Despite the fact that some venture capital industries have taken a hit, there’s always an opportunity if you know where to look.