Bhanu Choudhrie was born in June 1978 in New Delhi, India. He has built his career through his work as a strategic investor, philanthropist and as the founder of C&C Alpha Group. Mr. Choudhrie oversees investments in industries such as real estate, healthcare, aviation, banking, utilities, and hospitality. As the founder of C&C Alpha Group, Choudhrie’s investment strategies help to both incubate new companies and to drive mature businesses to reach their objectives.
As a student, Bhanu Choudhrie attended Boston University where he studied International Business & Marketing. After graduating from Boston University, Mr. Choudhrie was accepted on to the Owner Management Program at Harvard Business School.
In 2001 Bhanu Choudhrie founded C&C Alpha Group. Through his leadership, the group has developed a large and profitable investment portfolio, with a reputation for successful investments in emerging markets such as India and the Philippines. Choudhrie is an active entrepreneur with several positions on executive boards. In the United States, he presently serves a Member of the Board of Directors, as well as sitting on the Executive and Risk Committees for Customers Bancorp. Prior to its acquisition by Ameris in May 2018, Mr. Choudhrie was also a member of the Board of Directors for Atlantic Coast Financial Corporation. Bhanu Choudhrie has also served on a number of committees for the firm during his tenure including the Executive, Capital, Compensation, Audit and Governance & Nominating Committees.
Over the course of his career, Bhanu Choudhrie has received a number of awards for his contributions to society both as an entrepreneur and a philanthropist. In 2008, the United Kingdom’s Asian Voice Political and Public Life Awards recognized Mr. Choudhrie as their Entrepreneur of the Year. Bhanu Choudhrie has taken an active role in many philanthropic organizations; in particular, he has been often recognized for his work with Path to Success which seeks to: help those who can’t take education for granted and to support individuals with long term health concerns and limited financial resources.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
Our family started investing in the real estate business in India over 30 years ago, my father and uncle started a TV import-export business in the 70s and one of my great grandfathers was the chairman of the Punjab National Bank in India. For me, setting up a business that encompassed all those elements and established some new areas of interest and expertise was a natural progression for the next generation of our family.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I usually wake at around 6.30 am, I start looking through emails then and take time to find out what’s happening in the news. I typically watch channels such as CNN and Bloomberg as well as their Indian equivalents, as understanding global trends financially and on a wider business level are particularly important in the development of our business strategy.
Depending on whether I’m travelling or not or have external breakfast meetings I will head to the office and start work there at around 10 am. My general day will involve meetings and calls covering the day to day running of our various businesses and any issues that may entail, as well as working on our strategic development and longer-term ideas and ventures. We always take time to break for lunch, though discussions may involve business, and we try to finish and leave the office at 6 pm. It’s important to try to leave on time regularly otherwise you do not give yourself enough space to think creatively. I also ensure I do some form of exercise, such as going to the gym, swimming or boxing every day after work regardless of where I am in the world, it’s important to have that respite and often that’s when many of my ideas come to the forefront.
Following that, I may do some other work calls or meet for dinner depending on which time zone I am in. Once I am finished with that, I take some time to relax and watch a movie or read a book before heading to bed at around midnight.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I surround myself with a great team. They are invaluable when it comes to moving ideas into action.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The increasing interest in the health and wellbeing sector and the changing approach towards maximising not only your own health and wellbeing but that of others around you. It’s exciting from a business perspective but I am also interested to see how the next generation is changing the way we think about improving our own lives but also that of those in our communities or further afield who may not have had access to the same opportunities.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
A regular exercise regime which incorporates activities you enjoy, for me that’s going to the gym or boxing. As I mentioned before it really is important to give yourself time away from the office, calls and meetings to give your mind a rest and get some perspective. It also helps with maintaining energy levels which can be difficult when you’re jet-lagged!
What advice would you give your younger self?
Worry less about what you don’t yet know.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Take your time when it comes to making decisions about investments. Don’t get excited and invest on the spot!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Read and continue to educate yourself. Keep up to date on what’s happening globally, it helps you see and create opportunities as they arise.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Investing in strong management teams as well as investing for a longer period than most other venture capital firms, which allows us to support and grow our investments to a greater level.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Failure is often perceived as a negative thing. The nature of our business means that on average two out of every five ventures will succeed, so we ‘fail’ more often than not in those terms.
However, the lessons gained from failing help fuel our greatest successes, we spot issues and tackle them more quickly, we know more readily when we invest whether it’s likely to work or the changes needed to turn a venture around and equally when it’s best to pull the plug. We are more successful as a result of knowing what not to do.
As to how to overcome failure, do not view it as the be all and end all. It does not define you. Instead, take what you have learned and apply it somewhere new.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
An UBER type business for Tesla charging. From personal experience, it would be unbelievably helpful to be able to order a charge station to your location when you have run out of juice whilst sat in traffic!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently bought a gadget that allows me to connect all my devices to the net anywhere in the world including whilst I am in the air. Given the amount of travel I do, being able to stay connected and on top everything, wherever I am is extremely helpful.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use Whatsapp a lot with my teams, it’s very easy and convenient to keep each other up to date on projects and is a budget-friendly way of doing so when you’re travelling.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, it’s a classic and it is so for a reason, the lessons are applicable across many spheres including business.
What is your favorite quote?
“Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.”
– Swedish Proverb
- Worry less about what you don’t yet know.
- Read and continue to educate yourself.
- Take your time when it comes to making decisions about investments.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.