They may know the Hyderabad F&B (food and beverage) industry well from the start, but neither Vijay Amritraj, Sanjay Batla or Shankar Krishnamurthy could have imagined that their less-than-three year old company would be part of the recently held Global Citizen Festival in Mumbai — catering to around 85,000 people in one day, one of the largest concerts ever in the country.
Started by Vijay and Sanjay in 2014, Voila and its various offerings in event management and catering has also helped bring world class music and EDM events to Hyderabad, such as Sensation, Tomorrowland Unite and more.
The duo, who previously worked as partners (and competitors) in various restaurants in the city, at first focussed on organisational catering. “(Shankar’s) Fusion 9 was also operating in the same space. And since we had been partners in other ventures together, we said instead of fighting one another and trying to take each other’s business, let’s join hands and make this a very professional and scalable organisation,” explains Vijay. Along with Shankar, F9's co-founder Arvind Kaila joined the team, and the two companies merged to form Voila F9.
Over the past three years, through its own efforts as well as through partnerships with other event management companies, Voila has also brought some of the biggest names in the music industry to the city, making it one of the hottest EDM destinations in the country.
Sanjay believes that their combined focus helped them succeed. “It’s the passion for the same industry. Between the three of us, we’ve seen the ups and downs, and we complement each other on various things,” Sanjay says, while Vijay explains each of their roles: “I try to professionalise the operation and streamline it, Shankar takes care of the food production and Sanjay looks after the financial part of it, vendors, banking, investors and so on.”
After catering with a premium South Indian awards ceremony in Hyderabad, Voila was then given the opportunity to cater for Global Citizen festival.
“Just the idea of it was humongous. Here there were 85,000 people on one side, and we also had the prime minister’s enclosure, chief minister’s enclosure, and the who’s who of the world — we had the top end of the food as well. We had to plan for this event for about six weeks, but in the end we managed to pull it off.”...