Kolkata Chai wants to be a "place to get good chai" in the USA - TechCrunch

Kolkata Chai wants to be a “place to get good chai” in the USA – TechCrunch

Co-founders brothers Neither and Ayan SanyalKolkata Chai wants to be a “place to get good chai” in the United States. It’s a big market. The Sanya brothers estimate that the national tea market is $ 12.7 billion a year.

To chase after the duo, TechCrunch says Kolkata is about to start a new chapter in its business: after spending years introducing revenue from their agency business, Kolkata Chai is receiving external capital for the first time.

The startup recently received $ 1 million from investors, including Bob Guys founders Andrew Chau and Bin Chen, 500 Startup partner Paul Singh, Sharma Brands CEO Nika Sharma, Immi Eats CEO Kevin Lee, and Vice Media co-founders Suroosh Alvi and Zanab. Hussain Alvi.

There are easier ways to build a business than trying to break a cup of Indian masala chai. The drink is extremely personal: no two homes will serve the same cup and each has its own preferences for the proportions of ginger and cardamom.

But what chai requires in technology, he also gets in love: it is a basic and shared language in Indian culture. It is no wonder, then, that due to its cultural importance, along with the growing popularity of chai in Western countries, a number of consumer-friendly businesses have emerged that have launched their own blends of masala chai, bottled beverages and coffee shops.

Calcutta’s decision to take action may seem controversial today, especially with community-based businesses that users are passionate about. Will quality fight incentives similar to high-risk businesses? Will the chai have to be watered? Calcutta Chai began as a place in New York, based on the Sanyal brothers’ trips to Calcutta each summer. It is described as an unreasonable approach to authenticity, so any threat to this ethos could harm business.

“You can bootstrap for as long as you want, but there are some limitations,” Ani Sanyal told TechCrunch. “After two years of COVID-19 navigation, we have exhausted all possible routes; but at the same time I think we are deliberately about how to raise capital. “

Indeed, Startup says it has deliberately put together its new round of financing from high net worth people in the form of a party round rather than from a traditional hedge fund or funds. The reason, Sanyal continues, was that they wanted “patient capital.”

Kolkata Chai did not follow the path of crowdfunding, but instead chose key managers and founders in her field who understand areas of food and beverage from which they can learn more, including budget. Ayan Sanyal added that the startup wanted to wait until the company was in a place where it would feel comfortable sharing future plans and understanding what a long-term revenue mix could look like.

(Kolkata’s journey is similar to that of Bob Guys, a popular tea brand that also avoided traditional venture capital funding.)

Kolkata Chai hopes the money will help her graduate from a proof-of-concept business to a brand she has to reckon with. In the first nine months of the startup, the DTC startup earned about $ 160,000 in top revenue and helped build a profitable business during the pandemic. Based on this, Kolkata thinks that its future is more in the world of e-commerce. He will keep his business in New York and will use pop-ups as a marketing tool.

Ultimately, the brothers say, the company could expand through acquisitions and even grow through content and media that expand its original audience. Although the brand began by teaching people that “chai tea” is a recurring descriptor maintained by Starbucks, it wants to continue to take a more spicy stance.

“We have built a world-class brand for millennials and our demographic with very little resources,” says Sanyal. “I think we can really cover all these different worlds, and more importantly, not only [build] products and things for the people of South Asia, but to really be a bridge between our culture and the larger Western world. ”

Photo credit: Nushrat Choudhury

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