Domestic tea start-ups to set up stores, cafes overseas

Purvita Chatterjee Mumbai | Updated on January 11, 2018

Look for distributors, franchises; will compete with local players abroad

International tea retail formats like Teavana (part of Starbucks) and Singapore’s The Well Being Group (TWG) may be serving ‘speciality teas’ to Indian consumers but a couple of domestic start-ups in the tea business are also on their way to set up retail stores abroad.

Mumbai-based start-ups Tea Trails Cafe and The Good Life Company (TGL) will soon set up outlets in the GCC countries, the US and UK through distributors and master franchises and are ready to compete with the local players in those markets.

“We should have 10 stores in the next one year across West Asia, UK and the US selling both loose teas and tea bags since globally speciality teas is a ₹50,000-crore market with Germany and US leading in this category. In India too, start-ups like us are competing head-on with Teavana from Starbucks and even our online prices through sites like Amazon are similar to it,’’ says Bhuman Dani, Co-Founder, TGL.

Having raised $1 million from restaurateurs Abu Farhan Azi and Ayesha Takia Azmi, TGL will also enhance its domestic presence with small counters within Godrej Nature’s Basket outlets, airports and hotels. The 10-month-old start-up plans to raise an additional $3 million to launch more speciality teas and would be putting up its international Web site to sell its teas across the world.

To set up cafes

Another three-year-old start-up, Tea Trails, plans to take its tea cafes to the GCC countries and the UK . “We are planning to have master franchises who can start our cafes in West Asia and UK where there is a culture of having tea cafes supported by a strong Indian Diaspora. We are planning to raise $3 million in our series B round through PE funds and should break-even by the end of the year,’’ said Uday Mathur, Co-Founder & Director, Tea Trails.

Tea Trails currently has a pan-India presence with 35 outlets and has adopted a franchise model to expand its operations.

Apart from such offline ventures, there are tea start-ups like Vahdam Teas and Tea Box, that have already found the overseas markets more lucrative for online sale. Vahdam Teas recently raised funds ($650,000 in the initial round from investors like Mumbai Angels and Fireside Ventures ) for building warehouses in the US and the bulk of its revenues comes from 76 overseas markets.

Ratan Tata-funded Teabox also considers the US as its largest market and through online sales has managed to reach its premium loose teas to almost 100 countries.

Published on July 06, 2017

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