Top 10 Chai Startups In India 2021

chai startups in india

We, Indians are obsessed with ‘chai’. If we look into the lives of a middle-class Indian, it won’t start without a ‘kadak’ cup of tea. India being the second largest producer of tea in the world is also the largest tea-drinking nation. The consumption volume of tea in India was approximately one billion kilograms during the FY 2020.

In the past few years, there has been a massive development in Tea (chai) industry. There are a handful of startups that made a ground breaking impact out of the box due to the effect of any simple spot of having tea which they have. 

Have you tried their chai’s? If not, we have a little guide for you here that will surely get you experimenting!

Here Are The Top Chai Startups Of India Who Are Bringing Back The Essence Of Desi ‘Chai’:

1. MBA Chai Wala

  • Founder: Prafull Billore
  • Year of Establishment: 2017
  • Investor: None
  • Total funding: Self funded
  • Operating In: Ahmedabad, Bhopal and Chandigarh

Story Of MBA Chai Wala

A new yet famous name countrywide covering all media channels and news reports, MBA Chaiwala was started by Prafull Billore as a roadside tea stall, borrowing Rs 8000 as his first investment from his father. From selling tea at political parties to naming the tea after programmes initiated by the parties, the startup made its own path and by the end of FY 2019-20, stood out at Rs. 3 Crore as its turnover. Prafull chose Ahmedabad as his start point because he believed Gujarat was the place to be in for any business to gain momentum.

The unique things about his tappri which attracted customers was open mics. His idea of serving free tea to singles on Valentine’s day also went viral and got him recognition in a short span of time. Starting from just a small roadside stall, the startup has now its outlets open in Bhopal and Chandigarh. Once a CAT aspirant, Prafull now gives Ted talks and has also been invited for a talk show event in IIM Ahmedabad. Certainly, a young entrepreneur in rising. 

MBA Chai Wala: Chai Startups In India
Founder Of MBA Chai Wala: Prafull Billore

2. Chai Point

  • Founder: Amuleek Singh Bijral
  • Year of Establishment: 2010
  • Investors: Eight Road Ventures, DSG Capital, Saama Capital, Paragon Partners
  • Total Funding: $34 million 
  • Operating states: Bengaluru, Pune, Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai

Story Of Chai Point

Originated in Bangalore, Chai Point is considered to be the first chai startup of India. Owned by a Harvard alumni, it is also the first company to deliver hot chai to doorsteps. The range of available products on their website vary from breakfast to snacks, Maggi to sweet treats and perfectly compliment with a cup of chai.

Chai Point has rapidly grown to become the go-to brand for a perfectly brewed cup of chai with over 30,000 cups sold every day. Over a period of 10 years since the business started, Amuleek’s business has gone from 88 crore in FY 2018 to 190 crore mark in FY’20. It grew to 175 stores, opened 120 cloud kitchens and built a D2C business.

The beverage brand also retails the instant tea variants in sachet packaging on its DTC platform such as Amazon. The company also deals in IoT enabled chai and coffee dispensers –, which is another unique aspect. Chai Point’s SaaS- based end-to-end operating system handles warehouse management, billing system, inventory and vendor management so the entrepreneur can focus on the product and its expansion.

Chai Point: Chai Startups In India
In The Image: Founder Of Chai Point, Amuleek Singh Bijral

3. Chaayos

  • Founder: Nitin Saluja
  • Year of Establishment: 2012
  • Investors: Tiger Global Management, SAIF partners, Innoven Capital, Think Investments
  • Total Funding: $41.5 million
  • Operating cities: Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Faridabad, Chandigarh and Mumbai

Story Of Chaayos 

Chaayos, a technology-led café started by two IITians, Nitin Saluja & Raghav Verma, is one of the most successful chai startups in India. It offers the people to choose their chai from over 80,000+ customisations designed by Chaayos. This includes some unique recipes such as Hari Mirchi Chai, Aam Papad Chai along with quick bites, chaats and meals. The high-end technology includes facial recognition for logging in and repeating the usual favourable chai and also for a hassle-free payment. 

Along with this, it also brews a fresh cup of personalized chai as per customer’s preference, famous as ‘Meri Wali Chai’, through the patented IoT chai bots – Chai Monks. The founders also plan to use the fresh capital investment to expand the café’s network and invest in technology alongside.

Chaayos has a whooping number of 1.7 million registered guest across 80 cafes nationwide and plans to reach a store count of 300-400 in next 3-4 years. According to Chaayos’ annual statements for FY19, the company’s revenue from operations increased to Rs 66.87 crore from Rs 52.25 crore in FY18, increasing by 27.9%.

Chaayos: Chai Startups In India
Founders of Chaayos: Raghav Verma (Left) & Nitin Saluja (Right)

4. Teabox

  • Founder: Kushal Dugarr
  • Year of Establishment: 2012
  • Investors: Ratan Tata, Robert M Bass & Cameron Jones
  • Total Funding: $10 million
  • Operating countries: India, USA, European Union (EU)

Story Of Teabox

Teabox, a Siliguri based startup is the world’s first vertically integrated tea brand that has disrupted $50 billion industry due to its innovations in technology and supply. Today, the company sells its products globally, shipping to more than 120 countries so far. It works with almost 150 tea plantations across India- in Meghalaya, Assam, Sikkim, Darjeeling, Arunachal Pradesh and Nilgiris. Their biggest market has shifted from Russia to US.

While most of the businesses in India faced a downward trajectory in the last year’s lockdown, Teabox’s annual revenue were pushed to about Rs. 90 crore due to increase in online purchase. In the Q4 of 2020, the firm turned ‘cash flow positive’ and currently sells 4-4.5 lakhs of ‘only leaf’ from its roaster of varieties. Their tea brand ‘chai’ sells close to half a million kilograms annually. 

Kushal Dugarr plans on having more offline retail stores post pandemic. His vision to make Teabox synonymous with India and build a brand with purpose is what marks a difference.

Teabox: Chai Startups In India
Founder Of Teabox: Kushal Dugarr

5. Udyan Tea

  • Founder: Parvez Gupta, Soveet Gupta and Punit Poddar
  • Year of Establishment: 2012
  • Investors: None
  • Total Funding: Bootstrapped
  • Operating countries: Metros and Tier 1 cities in India with USA, Western Europe, Russia, China, Taiwan, Australia, 

Story Of Udyan Tea

Udyan Tea was started to provide people with a standard and authentic quality of tea. The founders are themselves chai enthusiasts and intrinsically know a good tea taste. Punit Podder holds a 12 year’ experience in tea-tasting while Parvez Gupta is responsible for Udyan’s technical and operational finesse. Soveet Gupta takes care of the marketing and business development department. 

The tea at Udyan is handpicked from selected gardens of Darjeeling, Assam, Nepal and Nilgiris, thus maintaining the originality of the flavour. It is currently shipping to more than 25 countries. On their website, Udyan Tea focuses on providing information about the tea product and its benefits.  They also have a presence on online marketplaces such as Amazon, Shopclues, eBay and Smytten.

In 2019, The Global Tea Championship awarded one of Udyan Tea’s signature blends – Ayurveda Tea, with a Bronze medal as it won in the Blended Black Tea category.

Udyan Tea: Chai Startups In India
Founders Of Udyan Tea: Parvez Gupta (Left), Punit Poddar (Centre) and Soveet Gupta (Right) | Image Source: Inc42

6. Chai Thela

  • Founder: Pankaj Judge
  • Year of Establishment: 2014
  • Investors: Eight Roads Venture
  • Total Funding: $10 million
  • Operating in: NCR, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan

Story Of Chai Thela

Famous for retaining simplicity, Chai Thela is another chai startup business led by an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur. The outlet offers you the tea in the most classic way, jut like an Indian would like to have on an everyday basis. The store has kiosks and thellas which works as the prime attraction. Another best part of Chai Thela is that their clients get tea in most hygienic conditions with least price and no change in the budget.

With only 25 types of tea flavours to serve, the owner Pankaj believes that by providing hundreds of chai brewing options, he will only add more confusion among his customers. Prior to this business, Pankaj has started a company called Jiyo India in Kolkata which was into healthy snacks through QSR model. But due to insufficient customer mass, it was shut down.

Contrary to that, Chai Thela has been a successful venture so far. The firm has by far installed numerous Tea selling kiosks across states and is planning to reach more urban hubs like Mumbai and Bangalore and in the state of Gujarat in the upcoming time. 

Chai Thela: Chai Startups In India
Founder Of Chai Thela: Pankaj Judge

7. Tpot Café

  • Founder: Robin Jha
  • Year of Establishment: 2013
  • Investors: Ashish Gupta
  • Total Funding: Not disclosed
  • Operating in:  Delhi

Story Of Tpot Café

Tpot Café is a startup about Chai Nashta, as its owner Robin Jha describes. He claims that Tpot was introduced as a promising idea of chai nashta for the tea lovers in a café like setting, groping the tea market in an innovative way. 

Tpot café offers the customer with a tea experience they never had before. It tempts the guests with a variety of tea flavours which Robin guarantees are unique and won’t be available at any other brand or tea café. Their menu has a seasonal tea for every occasion – like for the blazing summers, they cool down their customers with the addition of an all-herb cool tea. While choosing a particular location for the Tpot outlets, the team of Robin has a 30 pointer based system. Based on the process, an area like the nearest metro station, locality of a college, etc is chosen.

Tpot Café has till now expanded itself into 20 outlets and aims to enhance the mark to 250-300 outlets in at least 4-5 cities of India in the next few years. It also plans of doubling their 6 crore revenue to 12 crores by the end of year.

Tpot Cafe: Chai Startups In India
Founder Of Tpot Cafe: Robin Jha

8. Chaipatty Teafe

  • Founder: Chirag Yadav
  • Year of Establishment: 2010
  • Investors: None
  • Total Funding: Bootstrapped
  • Operating At: Mumbai and Bangalore

Story Of Chaipatty Teafe

Chaipatty Teafe (Tea+ Cafe) is a Bengaluru based startup and is a well-known famous stop shop for every tea lover out there. Founded single handedly by an alumnus of DCE, Chirag Yadav, this cozy tea café is popular for its oh-so-rustic vibes along with the kulhad chai and cutting chai. It also provides light snack foods that go perfectly well with the traditional beverage of India.

Commenting on what makes Chaipatty Teafe different from so many chai businesses pan India, Chirag said that his startup is a right blend of a roadside tappri and a premium tea lounge. When on one side, tappri is a crowded place for people to connect over small or long talks, a lounge, on the other hand, is more spacious with a well-done premium lightning décor, cushion and amenities. Chaipatty Teafe happens to combine both and provide a perfect ambience for the customers to relax and settle themselves in the aura.

Chaipatty Teafe is the first kulhad chai provider in India and is reasonably priced. Today Chaipatty Teafe is 3 branches strong, has served over 50000 customers, has over 1500 Facebook likes and a growing number of followers on twitter. The chai startup is also amongst the top 5% restaurants on Zomato, getting there on the others and the favourite Tea place-cum-hangout spot for most city dwellers.

Chai Patty: Chai Startups In India
Founder Of Chai Patty: Chirag Yadav

9. Tea Trails

  • Founder: Kavita Mathur and Uday Mathur
  • Year of Establishment: 2013
  • Investor: Anil Matai
  • Total Funding: $1 million
  • Operating in: Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Pune.

Story Of Tea Trails

Tea trails is a tea chain offering a curated range of the finest teas from around the world along with suitable accompaniments, bringing about a wholesome tea-pairing experience. The startup founded by Kavita Mathur and her husband Uday Mathur has designed cafes to educate the customers about the health benefits and experience the aroma and taste of 100 varieties of exquisite teas.

The styles range from white to green tea and oolong to herbal tea along with a wide variety to choose from. In addition to the teas, the café also specialises in an elaborately tea-along food menu and includes some famous and authentic dishes.

The staff, called ‘Teastas’ are trained by the owner to help customers order food that best pair with a recommended tea. The chai business operates in 32 successful outlets spread in 8 cities and plans to expand network to over 500 outlets soon. They plan to take over Tier II and III cities and be the leaders in chai selling business.

Tea Trails: Chai Startups In India

10. Chai Break

  • Founder: Aditya Ladsariya and Anirudh Poddar
  • Year of Establishment: 2011
  • Investor: Artha India Ventures and Mumbai- based Venture Catalysts
  • Total Funding: $1.4 million
  • Operating in: Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Durgapur & Guwahati

Story Of Chai Break

Chai Break started off when two friends decided to create something unique and remarkable in Foods & Beverages segment in 2010. The duo took its baby steps with a 50 sq kiosk, serving different varieties of tea and snacks. Soon, with the changing trends and attitude of youths, Chai Break Café was set up in Kolkata. It was a first of its own kind café of Kolkata and became a blockbuster hit among the youngsters, college-goers and young working professionals. 

Along with variant flavours of chai, their side food menu is divided in two segments – ‘Small break’ for quick fix breaks and ‘Big Break’ for long leisurely bites. The startup also won the Best Tea Café Award of the year – East by Indian Restaurant Awards back-to-back in 2017 and 2018. It has been awarded as most popular Café Chain Award at Times Hospitality Icons Award 2019.

With reaching almost a decade since it started off, Chai Break has strengthened its presence over 18 outlets, while serving their loyal customer base with a variety of chai and a bouquet of cuisines- Italian, Chinese & Indian. It had set a target of scaling up revenue to at least Rs 50 crore by the end of 2020. 

Chai Break
Founder Of Chai Break: Aditya Ladsariya and Anirudh Poddar

Final Thoughts

So, these were the Benchmarks in the Indian history of ‘chai’. Although, people have been shifting to alternative beverages in a large number, but I believe ‘chai’ is irreplaceable. And if any doubt, have a visit in one of these places and clear all the doubts!

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