Startup Sunday Season 1 Episode 4 (Chaayos)

Is tea the first craving you have in morning? Is your snack time incomplete without a cup of tea and a random discussion? Love your personalized taste in your cup of tea? Well then, Chaayos is your place.!

chaayosIndia fetches a long history of “tea rooms” or “chai pe charcha”, with discussions over politics, society or life among different sets of people. Since so many years, it had brought young and old, friends and family and also different income groups under one roof of tea rooms. However, the people’s belongingness to such places faded away soon after the introduction of the multinational coffee chains. Tea took a backseat for sometime but was always present in the heart of every tea lover. And this, laid the inception of yet another successful venture, CHAAYOS.

Chaayos was founded in November 2012 by the IIT graduates – Nitin Saluja and Raghav Verma, when they realized that despite India being a tea drinking nation, all we had was either the well laid coffee chains or the unhygienic tapri chaiwalas at every nook and corners, the teabags or the office vending machine that were unable to satiate the tea drinkers. Nitin Saluja, a chai freak himself, always craved for that personalized flavor in his cup of tea, like many others and thus, he said, “This was the main idea of Chaayos – having a place where you can go get a fresh hygienic cup of tea made to your likings with a nice ambience and relax settling.” Today, the company offers more than 20 varieties of tea ranging from traditional tulsi and kadak chai to its unique Aam Papad Chai and God’s Chai, along with savouring food items at modest prices. Moreover, the USP of this venture is its privilege of the customized tea to its customers. Thus, confirming to their brand tagline – “Experiments with chai” and their belief in utility of tea and its wide range of flavors.

To start up a new venture did not come handy to them. According to the techies, potentially a worth over USD 10 million could be generated from this sector which is completely unorganized. There was a huge investor traction because of the huge market size and opportunity to create a multi billion-dollar enterprise in this sector. Initially, Chaayos managed to raise over Rs 20 million (2 crore) from the angel investors Powai Lake Ventures and $5 million (33 crore) from Tiger Global and other investors, later.

Once the concept of sophisticated tea rooms played off well for them and the customers started to enquire about the ingredients they used in the manual making of their tea, the founders then decided to sell their unique blend of leaves and flavors in packs not only through the cafés but also through the e-commerce giants such as Amazon, Snapdeal and online grocery store Bigbasket. Nowadays, Chaayos sells close to 1,500 boxes a month of these signature blends. The company also collaborated with Ola Cafes and Grofers for quick delivery of its tea on the doorstep of its customers, in a way to expand its ‘chai on demand’ services. To add more on to the success story, of late the company tied up with Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to redefine tea as an inseparable part of the train journeys.

Going forward, it looks to expand to all the metro cities like Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad and Chennai by opening 50 more cafés by the end of 2016. In a way to revolutionize how Indians perceive tea to be, scaling up of their operations and investment in technologies to expand their on demand chai services is their current focus.

“Opportunities seek for a chance. Entrepreneurs make new chances. So as long as you want to succeed, stand out on new ways than imitating the accepted paths to success”

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