Founder, Chemist Direct
He started his career as a financial and management consultant with Siemens Business Services in Bracknell, Berkshire, before providing financial and management consultancy with companies including Citigroup, Deutsche Investment Bank and Deloitte Consulting.
Soma also developed new operating models for a range of leading financial industry clients ranging from the Nationwide Building Society to Lloyds TSB and the Bank of Ireland.
He came up with the idea for Chemist Direct while assisting his wife Krishna, a qualified pharmacist, with her small independent chemist in Westminster.
He identified huge mark-ups between manufacturing and retail prices and realised costs could be slashed by cutting out the middlemen and keeping overheads to a minimum by using e-commerce. The company turned over £5m in its first year and now has 250,000 regular customers.
In January 2009, Soma expanded Chemist Direct to supply a full range of products for pets including medication, food and grooming products. In March 2009, Soma received a £3million investment from former Skype co-founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, now of VC fund Atomico. The investment allowed Soma to take his business to the next level by increasing staff and moving to new, larger premises.
Soma’s wife Krishna, 33, is a qualified pharmacist with 9 years dispensing experience. After graduating from Aston University in Birmingham with a degree in pharmacy, Krishna joined the family chemist and has played a key role in advising and helping Soma establish Chemist Direct.
Soma and Krishna live in Leicester with their three children Arjun, Angelie and Aryaan.
2009 – Best Male Entrepreneur – BT Business Essence of the Entrepreneur awards
2009 – Young Company of the Year – Growing Business Awards