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The JPMorgan quant who gave it all up for coffee and vodka

Next time you're on London Wall road in London, you might want to call into Black Sheep Coffee. In doing so, you'll be helping a JPMorgan quant executive director who's left the bank to pursue a new career involving the sale of two different liquids.

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Lovjit Thukral left JPMorgan after seven years last week. Thukral, who has a PhD in mathematical finance, was an executive director and strat in the bank's credit index and derivatives team. Now he's running the Black Sheep Coffee franchise on London Wall and selling some very high-end vodka in a fancy bottle. 

"I've taken quite a change," Thukral tells us. "I've moved away from my academic background and am trying to build something from scratch. It's a different type of challenge."

Thukral launched his vodka brand while he was at JPMorgan, and it was his vodka success that motivated him to give up his day job. Called, Desi Daru, it's won various awards and Thukral is building out distribution deals, including with Harvey Nichols. "I felt that if I don’t focus on the vodka fully now, I may regret it in the future," he tells us. "I’ve put a lot of money behind it – even the bottle is bespoke from Italy." Priced at £39 and rated five stars on Amazon, where it's variously described as "stunning" and "the daddy," Desi Daru is "premium and good quality," says Thukral. He designed in conjunction with "vodka consultants"  and went for vodka as there are fewer premium vodka than premium gym brands. 

Thukral also took over the franchise for Black Sheep coffee's London Wall branch last September. He says running a coffee shop is all about hiring a good day-to-day operations manager. "I go there now and then to make sure things are running properly, but I'm never too far behind things. Opening it was a real stress." 

He has a role model in his endeavours: his father also started out as an academic and then swerved into entrepreneurial activities. "He was the first person to start a video rental service in the country," says Thukral. "Then he got into post offices. He did loads of interesting stuff."

Thukral may have left banking as a career, but he hasn't left the industry behind as a source of potential funding. As he scales Desi Daru, he says he may seek outside investment in the future. Tapping former colleagues at JPMorgan is a distinct possibility.

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • sn
    14 June 2024

    guess went penniless or broke...too bleak to believe or know?

  • Qu
    13 June 2024

    I don't understands how the "expresso martini" is not in the cocktails suggested on

    Lovjit Thukral produce the vodka and own a coffee shop.

    And yes, the expresso martini it's an art to make it good, don't think one second that it's easy....

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