Indian tea cafe chain Chaayos raises $21.5m led by Think Investments

Photo: Pixabay

Sunshine Teahouse Pvt. Ltd, which runs tea café chain Chaayos, has raised $21.5 million in a Series B2 round led by San Francisco-based investment firm Think Investments.

The company raised $18.5 million of primary capital from Think Investments and other investors, and $3 million of venture debt from InnoVen Capital in this round, Chaayos founder and chief executive officer Nitin Saluja said.

Existing investors Tiger Global Management, SAIF Partners, Hong Kong-based Integrated Capital, and former WhatsApp chief business officer Neeraj Arora also participated in this round.

“We will deploy the capital to expand our store network, hire a few more senior people, and invest more in technology,” Saluja said over the phone.

Chaayos raised $12 million in September 2018 from SAIF Partners, Integrated Capital, and Singapore-based growth-stage investment firm, Pactolus.

The company has 80 stores, of which 50 are in Delhi-NCR, 22 in Mumbai and eight in Bengaluru, where it launched operations in November 2019.

The company is confident of increasing its store count to 300 across the cities they are already present in, over the next three to four years, said Saluja.

The chain offers several tea varieties customised to customers’ requirements, as well as snacks. To automate the tea-making process, Chaayos uses an Internet of Things-enabled tea machine called Chai Monk, Saluja said.

“We have structured ourselves as a neo-retail business, which is a traditional retail business heavily leveraged on technology. The entire technology stack that Chaayos runs on has been developed in-house and we have filed for multiple patents as well,” he said.

This article was first published on livemint.com.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.