[Funding alert] Tea chain startup Chaayos raises $21.5M led by Think Investments
New Delhi-based tea cafe chain Chaayos has raised $21.5 million in a mix of equity and debt financing.
The $18.5M equity round was led by San Francisco-based Think Investment and also got participation from existing investors, including Tiger Global, SAIF Partners, Integrated Capital and Neeraj Arora, Ex-CBO of Whatsapp. Innoven Capital participated with $3 million venture debt investment.
Nitin Saluja, Founder and CEO, Chaayos, said,
“Our biggest validation comes from the 1.7 million registered guests that choose to come back to Chaayos at a very high frequency. Continued confidence of our guests has allowed us to expand our cafe network at a fast pace and we will end FY20 with nearly 100 cafes."
“We shall endeavour to get to 300 cafes over the course of the next three to four years. Alongside growing our café network, we will continue to invest heavily into technology and augment team across all levels.”
Chaayos is a technology-led chai cafe that was started by two IITians – Nitin Saluja and Raghav Verma – in 2012. Guests can choose their chai from over 80,000+ customisations designed by Chaayos. The latest addition to Chaayos technology stack offers a guest experience via facial recognition for logging in, for repeating your usual chai and for making payments without hassles of OTP.
Its patented IoT chai bots called Chai Monks are deeply integrated with “Kettle” which is Chaayos’ proprietary point of sale and brew a fresh cup of personalized chai to guest’s preference as soon as the order is placed.
Chaayos claims that Chai Monks' personalised chai aids high customer repeat frequency of 3.5 times a month amongst loyalists.
The company also said the use of technology helps Chaayos keep manpower required at its cafes under check. It further aids accurate stock keeping, increasing sales and reducing wastages. Use of technology across multiple functions results in bottom line improvements of up to 5 percent for Chaayos, the company added.
Chaayos has 1.7 million registered guests across 80 cafes in eight cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Noida, Gurgaon, Chandigarh, and Faridabad. It now plans to expand to other key cities across India.
Previously the company had raised $20 million from Tiger Global, SAIF Partners, Integrated Capital, and Pactolus.
Chaayos competes with the likes of Chai Point, Vahdam Teas, TeaNation and Tea Trails among others in this space.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)