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[App Fridays] How India is running on 'chai' through Chai Point and UrbanPiper

Harshith Mallya
26th Sep 2014
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There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.

– Henry James

To keep productivity levels in the office or home high, we need to take regular breaks to make sure we don’t burn ourselves out and can function at optimal levels throughout the day. Most of us look forward to our cup of tea or coffee and some light hearted conversation with our colleagues and friends.

Chai Point

With the tagline ‘India runs on Chai’, Chai Point, which has about 40 outlets spread across Bangalore and NCR region, aims to provide a cup of chai in a variety of flavours , with a unique last mile customer experience. The company is also planning to increase the number of outlets to 50 by entering Maharashtra, Gujarat and Punjab soon.

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“ Colleagues, friends and families meet day-in & day-out in our stores over a glass of Chai. These are events in the real world where our customers genuinely decide to meet and share their love of Chai. We realize that through a simple glass of Chai we touch lakhs of our customers. And this is the just the beginning. We know we can reach crores more and enable an amazing array of human connections. We love this! “

Amuleek Singh Bijral is the founder and CEO of Mountain Trail Foods Private Ltd and its brand, Chai Point. He has received his MBA from Harvard Business School and has worked as the Country Manager (India + SAARC region) for RSA, a global leader in information security. He was earlier involved in business development and strategy for EMC Corporation, working out of Boston and Singapore. He has also worked in Microsoft Corporation in diverse roles and capacities.

Prof. Tarun Khanna is the mentor and founding investor at Chai Point. He is also the Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at the Harvard Business School, where he has studied and worked with multinational and indigenous companies and investors in emerging markets worldwide. He was named Harvard University's Director of the South Asia Initiative in the fall of 2010. He joined the HBS faculty in 1993, after obtaining an engineering degree from Princeton University (1988) and a Ph.D. from Harvard (1993), and an interim stint on Wall Street. He currently teaches in Harvard's College's General Education core curriculum in a university wide elective course on entrepreneurship in South Asia. He is also the Faculty Chair for HBS activities in India.

Tejus Chandra is the CFO for Mountain Trail Foods and also leads the real estate acquisition function within the company. Tejus has received his MBA from the Indian Institute Of Management, Bangalore and also has a Chartered Accountancy degree. He also has extensive experience in the field of finance and financial services, having worked in multinational corporations such as Ernst & Young and Goldman Sachs.

Sandesh C. currently heads retail sales at Chai Point and is responsible for all store operations. In the past, Sandesh worked as a management consultant with Bain and Company, a leading management consulting firm. He has worked on strategy and operations assignments with clients in consumer goods and technology verticals. Sandesh is an engineering graduate from NITK Surathkal and has received his MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.

Yaduvir Singh currently heads the supply chain management function at Chai Point for Pan India Operations and is responsible for designing & running end to end supply chain comprehensively. In the past hr headed the supply chain function at Costa Coffee (India) and also worked with Barista Coffee Company. He has over a decade of extensive experience in Food & Beverage and Manufacturing sectors. He has successfully completed a professional course in Supply Chain from IIT Delhi & received his Post Graduate Diploma in Operations Management from Symbiosis Pune.

What is it about?

Chai Point recently came out with a mobile app to make it easier for consumers to place orders, check out nearby outlets and also incentives such freebies and discounts through their loyalty program.

The app aims to provide the user with all the information he or she needs regarding the various products available, offers he or she can redeem and make the entire experience more seamless and fine tuned. Users can load money into the app at any of the outlets, and pay for the purchases by letting the OCR at counter read the bar code from their phone.

The Chai Point app is powered by UrbanPiper.

UrbanPiper is a boot strapped startup based out of San Francisco and Bangalore which aims to empower retailers with an omni-channel customer engagement platform to connect, comprehend and communicate with their customers.

The startup has the capabilities to enable – mobile as well as plastic pre-paid/gift-cards, loyalty & rewards , e-commerce and feedbacks across multiple channels with a real-time CRM in a seamless way. Their platform has profiled 700,000+ users purchase behavior with 2.2 million transactions processed across 130+ retail locations in a span of just 10 months.

Saurabh Gupta

Saurabh is Founder & CEO of UrbanPiper. He graduated from USC,LA and held engineering and marketing positions in the silicon valley for over a decade. He takes care of all business development and important partnerships required to grow UrbanPiper to next level.

Anirban Majumdar

Anirban is the CTO of UrbanPiper. He graduated from Delhi College of Engineering and has been involved in startups for last 8 years. He’s makes sure that engine that powers it is always in the pink of its health.

Other team members include

Devarshi Shah is an advisor at UrbanPiper. He has more than a decade of experience in silicon valley and is active in the startup community. He keeps himself busy with providing strategic direction to the team.

Chandrakant Kumar is the Lead Server Engineer at UrbanPiper. As the startup enters its next phase of data and functional load, he makes sure that everything is in order.

Devarshi Jain is the Operations & Business development Manager at UrbanPiper. He’s make sure that UrbanPiper services are uninterrupted and is involved in pre/post sales activity.

Arif Iqbal Bhuyan is Operations Manager at UrbanPiper. After a successful internship, he now has a better understanding of what it takes to run a bootstrapped startup.

Features of the app

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• Users can check & reload their ‘Chai Point Card’ balance and pay with their Android phones at any of the participating Chai Point locations.

• Users can view their transaction history, purchases and rewards.

• They can also get immediate notifications for purchases and rewards and also locate Chai Point outlets near them.

• Users can track their rewards in the rewards program and provide feedback directly to Chai Point.

Pros and cons

The app is fairly simple to use and has a smart, sleek interface. The loyalty program and the other features of the app are clearly highlighted and explained. I tried out the app and was also able to redeem a free ‘cranberry iced tea’ at one of their outlets using one of the promo codes. The entire process was quick and easy.

The app requires Android 4.0 and up to function and hence users running previous versions of Android are not supported. Users can only recharge their app with currency at any of the outlets; it would be an added bonus if users could recharge it online through their Net banking or credit cards as well. This would help reduce time spent in waiting in long queues.

YS verdict

The app provides a wonderful and seamless experience and provides many benefits to users in the form of rewards and promo codes to sign up and use the app. With a rating of 4+ on both the Google play Store and iTunes, this is a definite must try for users who love their daily cups of chai.

Do try out the app and let us know what you think about it. You can download it here for Android and iOS

If you are an app developer and want your app to be featured on App Fridays, please reach out to harshith@yourstory.com

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