Digital native tea brand Vahdam India plans to raise Rs 150 crore to fund expansion plans

Digital native wellness company Vahdam India, which is into tea, herbs and spices, plans to raise $20 million (Rs 150 crore) in private equity to fund its expansion plans.

Bala Sarda, founder of Vahdam India, told ET that the company wants to enter newer markets like Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia, and also strengthen its presence in the US and Europe. Vahdam, which has a very small presence in India, is also planning to expand its footprint in the domestic market through its digital-first strategy.

The company, founded in 2015, had raised over Rs 120 crore in venture funding from top consumer investors, including Sixth Sense Ventures, Fireside Ventures, Mankind Pharma, and SAR Group.

“In FY21, we have clocked a turnover of Rs 159 crore and we are a profitable venture now. We are aiming to achieve Rs 500 crore by FY24. As we grow our business we may require private equity infusion in the range of $15-$20 million,” said Sarda, who is also the CEO.

According to Sarda, the pandemic-induced stay-at-home trend has increased domestic consumption of tea in the global market, which accounts for 90% of its sales. The company procures teas from Assam, Darjeeling, Nilgiris and Kangra, among other places.

“Though the workplace consumption has come down as offices remain shut or are working on less manpower, the domestic consumption has gone up,” Sarda said. “Since we are into wellness products, we have seen people opting for them in this scenario where health remains the primary concern across the globe. Being a digitally native brand has helped us in this situation.”

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Vahdam ships teas to over 130 countries where they are available across 1,000 retail stores, including Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, and Sprouts Farmer Market. The brand is endorsed by global icons like Oprah Winfrey, Mariah Carey and Martha Stewart, among others.

Sarda said that during the pandemic-induced lockdown last year, the company did not face much problem in export shipments. “This year too, there is no supply side and shipments problems till now despite the recent surge in Covid cases and local lockdowns and restrictions,” he said.

The Vahdam India founder said that for expansion in the domestic market, their strategy will be digital first. “Maybe, at a later stage we will look at omni-channel. There is a good demand for value-added teas in India as well. Going ahead, 20% of our sales will come from the domestic market, while the rest will come from the overseas markets,” Sarda said.



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