International

Tea-Commerce Site Brews $6M eCommerce Investment

The online tea store Teabox is growing faster than its namesake leaf, having recently raised $6 million in funding.

The Times of India reports that venture capital firm JAFCO Asia led the Series A round, and was joined by Keystone Group, Dragoneer Investment Group, and Accel Partners. This wasn’t the first stake in Teabox for Accel Partners, as they provided the tea-packing and export company with its seed funding of $1 million last March.

Founded in 2012, the Bengaluru-based Teabox works directly with over 200 plantations throughout India and Nepal to service customers in 75 countries. By managing its own distribution, supply, storage and logistics itself, the startup claims (according to TechCrunch) that its time between order and delivery is a week or less.

Kaushal Dugar, the founder of Teabox, told the Times of India that the $6 million in Series A funding will go toward expanding Teabox’s presence in China, Japan and Korea — countries where tea is a particularly hot commodity. Teabox is also going to spend about $1.6 million to set up cold storage facilities in Siliguri, Guwahati and Coonoor.

To TechCrunch, Dugar remarked, “We want to leverage the Internet to build the world’s first vertically integrated tea eCommerce service.” He added that the Series A funding round allows the company to “go to the next level; build a disruptive team, target new markets and build a global brand.”

According to the company’s website, Teabox is already making significant headway in its short three years in the market, with more than 5 million cups of tea shipped to over 65 different countries.

Pointing out that there is at present not much vertically integrated competition for Teabox, Dugar told TOI that his company is “getting local marketing people in the markets [it is] expanding into.”

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