In 1973, Mr N.T. Kuruvilla had achieved what most of his friends would dream of. A degree from India’s best college for chemical engineering (UDCT), a job with the American pharmaceutical firm Pfizer, a flat in Bombay, a doting wife and three children – to the world, a man who has achieved everything. But his destiny lay elsewhere. At 37, he became the first person in his family to venture into entrepreneurship.
Mr Kuruvilla wanted to be the world leader in quality food ingredients among many other ventures. He knew he could not afford to give up his job at the factory where his team made Protinex, a food supplement, so he worked on his dream projects after hours. As he had already worked in a multinational pharmaceutical / food industry, maintaining quality was a passion in all his ventures.
The first business he set up in 1974 was APIFAC, a food ingredients plant supplying baking ingrdients to some of the major biscuit manufactuers in India. In 1980 a biscuit plant, Thompson Bakery was set up followed by a pharmaceutical company, Bluefield making generic drugs, both of which didn’t enjoy much success because Mr Kuruvilla’s expertise lay in production and not marketing. But he quickly learned his lesson.
The experience gained became the one of the many chapters in our success story. APIFAC survived the storm and in 1998 he went on to set up his second factory – Deccan Colours that manufactured synthetic food colours. Today, Deccan Colours is the world leader in production of Patent Blue V, a dark blueish dye that has applications both in food and medical diagnostics. APIFAC is a successful entity now and is a major player supplying ingredients to the likes of Parle and Britannia.
Since his death in 2003 N.T. Kuruvilla’s torch is carried by his two sons, Thomas Kuruvilla and Joseph Biju Kuruvilla.
An Engineer by education, his first love was always entrepreneurship. He started Tricom Computers, selling computer hardware in Bombay for two years, before he started working with his father in 1993. Between 1997-98, Thomas helped in setting up Deccan Colours where he was in-charge of all regulatory compliances, while his father focussed on technological aspects.
Since then he has been a strong force in shaping the business. In 2008 he relocated to Kerala to set up a Super Critical plant on the famed Malabar coast.
Biju completed B. Pharm from Mumbai University and after working at Strides Pharma for two and a half years he joined University of Oklahoma for MBA in International Marketing. When he returned in 1999, he joined his brother and father in business. From the start his main focus was in R & D.
On his return he had to learn all about dyes in a short time. Currently based in Bombay, Biju is constantly searching for ways to push the envelope in the areas of food ingredients and environmental remediation.