Barely four months after Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, invested in Teabox, it has raised an undisclosed amount from Cameron Jones, a Singapore-based angel investor and tea connoisseur. Simultaneously, the company also raised venture debt from DBS Bank Limited (DBS), SouthEast Asia’s largest banking, and financial services company.
Siliguri-based Teabox caters to a worldwide market of tea-lovers. The fresh funds will be used for expansion and fuel growth and innovation in global markets.
Founded in 2012 by Kaushal Dugar, Teabox is a premium tea brand that is focussed on vertical integration of sourcing, branding, and distributing teas – while upending the traditional tea-retailing model in the process. It sources the tea from 150 estates across Darjeeling, Assam, Nilgiris and Nepal.
Within four years of its existence, Teabox claims to have served customers in 94 countries and is planning to ship tea in 100 countries by the end of 2016.
This capital will give us additional resources to expand strategically into new markets, innovate rapidly, and deliver on our vision around the world,” said Kaushal Dugar, Founder and CEO of Teabox.
In the previous funding round, Kaushal said that Teabox generates 95 percent of their revenue from customers outside India. As of now, regions like US, European Union, Middle East are major markets for them, but this year they will focus more on Indian market.
Cameron said, “I invested in Teabox because it is well positioned to become the global premium tea brand in the world, and I want to back them in growing their business on a global scale."
Along with the funding, they also announced the appointment of Nicole Naumoff, who will lead Teabox's launch of new products and partnerships, with a focus to build the brand in North America. They have also appointed Amit Sharma as CTO at Teabox.
The company claims to have registered 2.5 times growth over the past one year. In March last year, it secured over $6 million in Series A funding led by JAFCO Asia. The company had earlier raised $1 million seed round from Accel Partners and Horizen Ventures in early 2014.
India is the second largest tea producer in the world and is ranked fourth in terms of tea exports. India’s tea exports during 2015-16 reached 220.84 million kg, which is valued at $641.95 million.
According to India Brand Equity Foundation, tea production is led by Assam (304.40 thousand hectares), West Bengal (140.44 thousand hectares), Tamil Nadu (69.62 thousand hectares) and Kerala (35.01 thousand hectares). The tea industry is India's second largest employer employing over 3.5 million people across some 1,686 estates and 157,504 small holdings.