North block

Kerala-based appliances firm V-Guard has had a great run so far, but pan-India ambition brings its own challenges

On a scorching Thursday afternoon, as people queue up to cast their vote in Kochi’s Venala suburb, passers-by may be excused for thinking that the area houses the regional headquarters of either the CPM or the state Congress. In truth, Venala houses the headquarters of one of Kerala’s most successful consumer electrical appliances companies, namely, V-Guard Industries. The company was founded in 1977 as a sole proprietorship by the now philanthropically inclined Kochouseph Chittilappilly with a seed capital of ₹1 lakh gifted to him by his father, an agriculturist. Chittilappilly, a postgraduate in physics, originally wanted to be scientist. “However, that didn’t work out and I joined the R&D department of an inverter manufacturing firm at a pitiable salary. In 1977, at age 27, I decided to start out on my own.”