Since the days of yore, tea has been the next majorly consumed beverage after water. Beginning your day with an aromatic cuppa of a steaming brew will definitely keep you energized for hours. Today, you can choose amongst a variety of teas that are not only pleasantly flavored, but are also brewed in an array of methods.
Historically, tea was brought to India with the arrival of the British, thereby scattering the deliciousness of this beverage throughout the country. Owing to the beverage’s increased craving, there have been a plethora of firms, websites and outlets that produce and sell myriad styles and flavors of teas today. One such freshly launched venture targeting to cater its consumers with a unique experience of enjoying the beverage made from the freshly picked fragrant leaves is Teabox.
Who are Teabox?
Hailing from one of the gorgeous lands of mountains and flowing waters; Siliguri, Teabox was established in the year 2012 by a sole person, Kaushal Dugar, who is the founder and CEO of the start-up. The launch of Teabox began with the story of offering the best quality of teas within a shorter period, thereby eliminating the additional costs and middlemen. Teabox’s aim is to become a single link between the producers and its global consumers, apart from just offering them with the best quality of teas.
This premium tea brand is focused at establishing a virtual integration of branding, sourcing and distributing various kinds of teas. They are working towards jettisoning the traditional methods of tea-retailing processes globally. Since a lot of Indian states are popular for producing the best teas throughout the world, Teabox carefully picks up its variety of teas from some of the Indian states such as; Assam, Darjeeling, Nepal and others, thereby delivering them to the consumers worldwide.
The venture’s medium of displaying their best quality of teas is their portal, Teabox.com. Until date, Teabox has shipped about 20 million cups throughout 75 countries. However, Teabox’s global consumers themselves generate a majority of about 95% of the start-up’s revenue.
How did Teabox come into shape, and what inspired its founder?
The launch of Teabox was the spadework of Kaushal Dugar, who was born in Siliguri, a town in Darjeeling. Being very famous for its plush tea estates and the flourishing tea business, the place gave Kaushal’s father an opportunity to have a business of supplying an array of tea garden accessories. Kaushal would often accompany his father to his store during holidays. Apparently, the sight of the huge machines converting the little fresh leaves into a delicious drink fascinated him.
After the completion of his schooling in Siliguri, Kaushal moved to Singapore, as he had won a scholarship to study Business in Singapore Management University. His eight year stay in Singapore molded him impeccably to form a stable career. He went on to establish a couple of companies that dealt with e-waste management and luxury limousine services. Besides, Kaushal was also a part of the KPMG sector for 4 years with the role of being a corporate financial analyst.
Simultaneously, Kaushal noticed that the Indian economy was booming and decided to contribute to the Indian market and joined his older brother in his business of exporting tea in Siliguri. This is where Kaushal got to witness the business-side of the tea industry along with its infrastructure that was used to accumulate the tea leaves from the estates, process it, and deliver it to the consumers. Throughout the process, Kaushal saw that people followed the traditional and obsolete methods to deliver the product, which he had decided to change using his plan. His know-hows from other countries fueled him to import ideas and practices from other industries, and implement them in product development, organizational and marketing skills in launching Teabox. Adding on to it was his experienced background in tea estates.
What is the Business Model of Teabox, and how does it function?
Given that India is the second largest producer of tea in the world, and the fourth largest exporter, most retailers still practice the obsolete methods of producing and manufacturing teas. These obsolete methods result in the involvement of innumerable middlemen, longer time and additional money, by the time the product reached the consumers. Since it generally took about 3 to 6 months for the teas to reach the market, they would lose their freshness and aroma, thereby affecting their taste.
The quality of any tea is determined by its aroma and freshness, which is very difficult to retain through the traditional methods. Owing to these challenges, Teabox paved its way in the Indian as well as global market with its up-to-date technology that helped in retaining the freshness, aroma and taste of teas across the world.
The business model of Teabox works on the philosophy of empowering the tea lovers with the experience of tasting the best quality of teas. Fundamentally working on this concept, Teabox deals with over 150 tea estates across Nepal and India in order to acquire the freshest of the stock within a short period. Furthermore, in order to offer the best services, the brand also has a set of tea tasters who help in choosing the finest quality of teas. These teas are then intensively checked in terms of quality, carefully cleaned, vacuum packaged and shipped across the world within just a week’s time.
Additionally, to ensure that maximum number of people should enjoy the best of teas with their help, they use the power of internet to reach throughout the globe. Doing this, has helped them deliver their products to about 94 countries in the past two years, including the Micronesian islands. Unlike before, customers can now get their tea brands from any part of the world via various channels.
What amount and types of funds has Teabox received so far?
A seed funding was made by Accel Partners and Horizen Ventures, a Singapore-based initial stage fund. Joining the board as an Adviser was Prashant Prakash, from Accel Partners. Teabox further raised about $6 million in a Series ‘A’ funding, which was led by JAFCO Asia, with participation from Keystone Group LP, Accel Partners and Dragoneer Investment Group. Followed by this was an undisclosed funding amount by Mr. Ratan Tata and Cameron Jones, a Singapore-based angel investor. Teabox plans to use the latest funds raised to construct the back-end infrastructure that will help in enabling better transactions and processing orders to newer customer base, and also to hire people across various verticals.
- Teabox currently employees about 80 people throughout Siliguri and Bengaluru.
- Teabox has shipped across 90 countries with about 35 million cups.
- Teabox aims to be a major brand in Russia, Canada, UK and US in the coming 5 years.
- Teabox lets its consumers to experience the taste of their quality teas via Sampler sets and Subscription programs.
- Teabox.com operates in multiple languages including Chinese and Russian, and also offers customer support services in local languages to people across the world.
- Teabox was featured in CNN Silk Route.