Sixth Sense Ventures, Zomato’s Pankaj Chaddah bet on tea e-tailer Vahdam
Bala Sarda

Venture capital firm Sixth Sense Ventures has led a Series C funding round in Delhi-based online retailer Vahdam Teas Pvt. Ltd.

Vahdam Teas raised Rs 75 crore ($10.5 million) in this round, the company said in a statement. This takes the total funding raised by the company till date to more than Rs 100 crore.

The family offices of Mankind Group and SAR Group as well as Infosys founder Kris Gopalkrishnan and Zomato co-founder Pankaj Chaddah also took part in the new round. Fireside Ventures, the startup’s early backer, also participated.

Vahdam Teas founder Bala Sharda said the fresh capital will help the company enter new markets, invest in research and development and launch innovative products.

The company is based in Delhi and New York, and plans to open a UK office early next year. 

Nikhil Vora, chief executive officer at Sixth Sense Ventures, said Vahdam is an interesting example of how a traditional business like tea can be disrupted.

Founded in 2015, Vahdam runs an online platform through which it ships Indian tea to customers globally. The US, its largest market, accounts for 70% of its revenue. The remaining comes from about 83 other countries.

Vahdam procures tea from about 100 plantations across India and Nepal. The firm claims it vacuum-packs the tea in 24 to 72 hours of production and ships it within the following 24 hours to keep the products fresh.

It stocks more than 100 varieties of tea based on the season and harvest region. Users can sign up for tea subscription and receive a pack of five different tea varieties every month.

The brand generates all its sales online, primarily from its own website, and claims to have shipped over 100 million cups of premium tea to consumers in over 85 countries.

The company had raised Rs 18 crore from Fireside and Mumbai Angels last October. It raised $1.4 million (Rs 9 crore) in a Series A round of funding from Fireside Ventures, an early-stage venture fund, in December 2017.

In January 2017, the startup secured Rs 4.4 crore from Fireside founder Kanwaljit Singh, Mumbai Angels and Singapore Angel Network.

Vahdam competes with the likes of speciality tea e-tailer, operated by Singapore-based AsianTeaxpress Pte. Ltd. Teabox raised funding from Dubai-based NB Ventures, the family office of Neelesh Bhatnagar, in July this year. It also counts Accel and Singapore-based VC firm JAFCO Asia among its other backers.

In the broader tea retail sector, Tiger Global-backed Chaayos and Chai Point are among the other companies. In April last year, Chai Point raised $20 million.

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