Why They Made it to The Startup50 List
For building a company that could be india’s answer to coke and pepsi. It was chosen for being a category creator in the indian ethnic beverage segment, for its ability to ramp up distribution and for its focus on nutritive drinks with low-sugar.
Neeraj Kakkar, Neeraj Biyani
Neeraj Kakkar and Neeraj Biyani founded Hector Beverages in 2010 with an energy drink brand called Tzinga. However, three years later, the duo created a new category in the beverage industry by venturing into unchartered territory of packaging authentic Indian drinks with a brand called Paper Boat, which is the first and fastest growing brand in the Indian ethnic drinks segment.
With an employee base of around 800 people now, the founders believe in being honest in all things they do and that is the key to their employees’ happiness. Keeping this philosophy, they want to lead the effort of finding rare and forgotten recipes, from across the country and revive it, as a result preserve and contemporize heritage. In 2015, the company received investment to the tune of US $30 million apart from two earlier rounds of funding totaling US $11 million from leading investors such as Sequoia Capital, Hillhouse Capital, Catamaran Ventures, Sofina, Footprint Ventures.
- The USP: It has a diverse and continually increasing range of products, as opposed to leading with a single, signature product. The company’s recipes are constantly improved to achieve a standard of being the “reference taste” and each recipe cannot be less than a 100 years old.
- Key Feature: The company makes its drinks without any preservatives, artificial colour or carbonation. Currently, there are nine variants available across India : Aamras, Jaljeera, Jamun Kala Khatta, Aam Panna, Kokum, Golgappe ka Pani, Chilled Rasam, and Iced Tea in two flavours: Ginger Lemon and Tulsi.
- Impact: This is best described through an anecdote. Kokum, a Konkan coast specialty, is unknown to so many parts of the country. But recently, a doctor in Gurgaon picked up a pack of Paper Boat Kokum, loved it, and made it a regular fixture in his day. When he went to Goa, he found a profound cultural connection with locals who have grown up with Kokum – a journey that has happened entirely because of curiosity and discovery. Paper Boat wants to affect more such meaningful exchanges between people, and showcase with wonder, that we really are such a deliciously diverse country!