In 2012 Kaushal Dugar was inspired to reexamine the way that Indian tea is sold, wanting to bring people closer to its source. A $1 million investment from venture capital companies Accel Partners and Horizon Ventures will help him get closer to that goal.
Teabox is an e-commerce site based in India that provides a more direct way for customers to find and purchase Darjeeling, Assam, and Nilgiri teas. With its streamlined model, tea can travel from garden to tea drinker in a week. In two years, the company has shipped more than 22,000 pounds of tea.
Accel Partners and Horizon Ventures saw significant potential in this direct garden to customer business. Teabox plans to add a subscription service and is developing plans to reach out to tea drinkers in countries like China and Japan. Russia is currently their biggest market. Already the company expects its sales to triple in 2014.
Teabox sells 100 varieties of teas and aims to package and ship all of their product within three days of production.
Interestingly, Dugar sees Teabox as a technology company, rather than a tea company. He believes that new supply chain management techniques and effective e-commerce development can change the way that tea is sold. Many tea plantations see Teabox as the way to make a name for themselves individually, something that is often lost when working with mammoth blending and distribution companies.
Accel, with teams in Silicon Valley, London, India and China, has been investing in companies with long-term potential since 1983. Ten-year-old Horizon Ventures primarily focuses on investment in technology and internet companies in India.