Recently there has been an increasing rush in Chai Startups empowering chai drinking. These startups are working on increasing both quality, quantity and easy availability of Chai. Figures reflect that Indian tea industry and the beverage cafe market are currently valued at Rs.19,500 crore and Rs.1,800 crore respectively. India is said to be the second largest tea consuming market in the world. And India’s young entrepreneurs aspire to cater to the latent demands and be the category leader with their innovative startups.
Rising incomes and demand for a refined experience transcending chai are spawning posh tea lounges in the nation’s biggest cities, a transformation mirroring 15 years of coffee revolution that brought Starbucks in 2012. Entrepreneurs are pooling their savings to set up these tea houses, inspired by the $175 million initial public offering (IPO) planned by Cafe Coffee Day, a chain backed by KKR and Co.
Tea is a bigger opportunity than coffee because consumption of the leaf-based beverage beats its rival 30 cups to one, says Nitin Saluja, who runs 12 tea outlets under the name ‘Chaayos’ in and around New Delhi. Euromonitor International data show per capita spending on tea in the second-most populous country was $1.7 a year in 2014, versus $18 in the UK, showing potential for up-selling a premium version of the drink.
The ventures are seeking to strip chai of its street credentials and elevate it to a higher price point, while introducing middle-class Indians to finer leaves from around the world.
Let’s have a look at some best leading Chai Startups gaining some limelight:
- Started By- Kaushal Dugar
- HQ- Darjeeling, West Bengal
- Established on- 2012
- Operating Countries- India, USA, European Union
- Funding Received- Ratan Tata(Undisclosed)
- Revenue- $4.7 million
- Company Worth- $ 40 million
Teabox could be easily crowned as the most prevailing chai startups of India. This retailing chai venture has risen a funding in the past years and recently Teabox has been in talks because of its most prized investor, Ratan Tata, who has invested an undisclosed amount in the retailing tea business.
Teabox is the global tea brand which has escalates its consumption rate from 5 million cups to 20 million cups, since the past years. The most exclusive fact about the venture is that it has a direct contact with the plantation eliminating the limitation of a middle man. Kaushal has claimed that the venture has the potential to become the most promising e-commerce business of India.
Nitin Saluja and Raghav Verma are the cofounders of Chaayos. Nitin was introduced to Raghav Verma, an IIT Delhi graduate of batch 2010 by a common friend and the two hit it off straight away. Nitin took care of the product development, settling the supply chain, setting up processes while Raghav took care of marketing and business development. It gets its main funding from Tiger Global.
Started in 2012, Chaayos runs 16 cafes in Delhi and Mumbai. It introduced chai-on-demand service in Delhi and Gurgaon only in March this year and now gets about 1,000 orders a day. Orders can be placed on its app, website or via a phone call and come in handy cardboard flasks that keep tea piping hot.
One of the earliest tea startups, Chaayos focuses on providing “meri wali chai”, or tea which can be tailored according to your preferences. For instance, the best-selling desi chai can be customised with up to 12 add-ons, including spices such as black pepper, cardamom, cloves, and surprisingly even green chillies. The menu also has classic teas from India, speciality teas with infusions such as mint, rose cardamom and cinnamon, as well as iced teas.
- Chaayos: A success story of 2 Techie’s Chaifreakness
- 6 Startup Lessons which you can Learn from Chaayos Success
3. Chai Point
Amuleek Singh Bijral is the CEO and Co-Founder of Chai Point. Chai Point gets funding from Eight Road Ventures. Chai point is a Bangalore based chai startup which competes mainly with chayos. It operates various chains of chai through its stores. Chai Point is one of the early entrants in the organised tea chain business and targets market of young working professionals via its network of stores, dispensers on corporate premises and a recently launched delivery business. Besides Bengaluru, Chai Point has expanded operations to Delhi and Pune. It has also recently introduced ‘Chai on Call’ which allows customers to enjoy chai in their offices and homes using a specially developed use and throw heat retaining chai flask. Recently launched delivery business. Tea retail chain Chai Point has secured $10 million in a new round led by Fidelity’s proprietary investment arm
Earlier, the company had raised a seed round followed by a $2 million round by Saama Capital. It offers tea like dum, lemon, ginger, masala, hot green, sugar free, ice lemon, and ice green. The place also takes orders for snacks and fast foods like samosas, veg puffs, egg puffs, chocolate donuts, banana cakes, sandwiches and mango shakes. The point provide chai-on-call delivery.
4. Chai Thela
Chai Thela is a chain of tea outlets based out of Noida looking to provide the experience of a road-side thela (cart).The main factor that differentiates them from others is that they provide freshly brewed tea.
Pankaj and Nitin are the co-founders. Main team consist of 10 members having a total revenue of 1 million dollars.
Before joining Pankaj with Chai Thela, Nitin was working with Liquor Retail Company. They prepare tea on demand and try to refrain from storing tea in flasks as much as possible. Chai Thela has a kiosk-based model, and it’s focused on IT parks and colleges as their prime market. Started in February this year with a two-member team, they’ve grown to 32 employees and six outlets. At present, they’ve scaled to a volume of serving up to 500-600 cups from each outlet every day.
- Started By- Robin Jha
- HQ- Delhi
- Established on- 2013
- Funding Received- Ashish Gupta (Undisclosed)
CEO Robin Jha, who recently is in talks for the inauguration of the 20th café of the chai nashta chain, has a plan to take tpot to greater heights in the next few years. With the opening of two new outlets at the heart of the capital, Connaught place, tpot has flourished with its variety of chai and nashta. From their speciality hibiscus tea to the ordinary masala chai they have it all with the exotic nashta range which is provided at an affordable rate to the customers.
Related- Tpot Cafe a Tea Startup by Robin Jha
6. Tea Trails
It offers Curated Range of Finest Teas With Suitable Tea Accompaniments. Tea Trails is a venture of Zone8 Tea World Pvt. Ltd. Founded by a group of successful entrepreneurs and professionals in 2012. We spent more than 2 years in R&D to handpick products suitable for the Indian pallete and launched our first Tea Trails outlet in Mumbai in November 2013. The cafe chain plans to use the funds for its growth and expansion in focus markets even as it plans to open 250 outlets by 2018.
Tea Trails, founded by enthusiastic tea drinkers Kavita Mathur and Uday Mathur is the chain of tea cafes in India that offers curated range of the finest teas from around the world along with suitable tea accompaniments. Tea Trails serves gourmet teas from around the world and has teas ranging from hot to cold and every day to extravagant paired with great food. It has its outlets mainly located in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai.
The co-owners of Tea Trails understand the importance of not only the finest quality tea leaf available, but also the perfect pot.
7. Chai Garam
One of the oldest chai companies, founded by Meghana Narsana, Chai Garam is the chain of chai cafes targeting the working population of the country with small outlets, low rentals, low prices, faster turnaround. Chai Gram is a unit of MVD corporate services engaged in the business of providing freshly brewed handmade Tea and Coffee for Corporate and Institutions since 2009. Their specialty is that they sell 20 varieties of freshly brewed hand-made Tea without use of tea bags or vending machines along with cold beverages and snacks. Meghana Nasrsana has completed 10000 Women Entrepreneurship Programe funded by Goldman Sachs conducted by Indian School of Business, Hyderabad with her vast experience of working, with different multination companies. Its outlets are mainly located in Gurgaon.
“Our customers visit us every day or multiple times a day as we offer convenience and value for money. Our USP is our Chai which we prepare fresh using fresh tea leaves and spices without use of any tea bags, vending machines or artificial flavouring,” said Bhrigu Dutt, Director Eagle Peak Garam Chai Pvt Ltd.
8. Chotu chaiwala
It’s not as “chotu” as the name suggests. It’s one of the rising tea startup in Maharashtra. Chotu Chai Wala operates in Mumbai with five tea shops in Bandra to deliver the famous city’s ‘Cutting Chai’ a local Synonym for tea. It offers weekly and monthly tea subscriptions. Chotu Chai Wala is an initiative by Zepo.in, an eCommerce website development platform. After being intrigued by the chaiwalas of Mumbai for so long, Zepo decided to empower them by getting them to sell online so they could reach a much wider audience.
There is a tea stall around every corner in most Indian cities. Inspired by this, Mumbai-based Chotu Chaiwala works with five tea shop vendors in Bandra to deliver the city’s famous cutting chai. The number of orders on the website is growing by the day and Chotu Chai Wala plans to expand to South Mumbai pretty soon.
9. Chal Chai Peete Hai
It’s a startup based in Madhya Pradesh. It does its best to give tea a world class level like coffee hygienic hangout launch a TEA CAFE with wide variety of healthy tea and snacks.
The immense commercial potential of tea delivery has even attracted food company Faasos, which began offering tea and snack combinations on its app three months ago to fulfill people’s evening tea cravings. Customers can also tweet their tea and food order to its Twitter handle.
Chaisa is a place for people to meet over a good old cup of chai along with some of the more worldly teas, and have a pleasant break from the cliché of drinking coffee over conversations that often surround us.
“Chaisa as the name suggest is a “Chai” cafe and we are serving various varieties of tea with many things in the menu. We serve vada pavs, papdi chats, bhel poori etc which compliments tea,” said Rahul Mundra, owner, Chaisa.
These are some of the best Chai Startups of India levelling up the standards of our favourite beverage, Chai.