PaperBoat - Story, Founder, Business Model, Funding, Team, News

India is a land of diversity. There are diverse language, culture, food, attire, even there are diverse traditional drinks specific to different parts of the country. From Jal-jeera, the popular drink of north India, to Kokum Sherbet, the specialty of Maharashtra, there are many drinks which from ages has been part of the Indian food culture. However, with many global brands entering the Indian beverage market, and due to the fact that the traditional Indian drinks are not as easily available as the packaged ones, the popularity of authentic Indian beverages are going down. But there is a company that is reviving the love for traditional Indian drinks among the youth, and bringing to you ‘ drinks and memories’. Yes, it's PaperBoat. Today PaperBoat is a well-known brand with a vision to preserve the traditional recipes by using innovation. PaperBoat is making the ethnic Indian drinks accessible to the urban market. The company is also focusing to cater local and personalized taste.

Read on the article to find some interesting stories, facts and numbers about “PaperBoat”. We have covered detailed story of successful startups in India. Check them out here.

Startup Name PaperBoat
Headquarter Gurugram
Founders Neeraj Kakkar,James Nutall, Suhas Misra & Neeraj Biyani.
Sector Beverages
Founded 2009
Parent Organization Hector Beverages

About PaperBoat
Founders of PaperBoat and Team
PaperBoat History and Starting Up
PaperBoat - Name, Tagline, and Logo
PaperBoat - Products
PaperBoat - Funding and Investors
PaperBoat - Marketing Strategies
PaperBoat - Startup Challenges
PaperBoat - Competitors
PaperBoat - Partnership
PaperBoat - Acquisitions
PaperBoat - Growth

About PaperBoat

PaperBoat's parent company Hector Beverages was founded in 2009 by Neeraj Kakkar. While the brand 'PaperBoat' was launched in 2013. Prior to launching PaperBoat, Vector Beverages launched 'Frissia', a protein drink, followed by energy drink Tzinga, which was launched in 2011.

With launch of PaperBoat in 2013, Vector Beverages shifted its focus to the Indian traditional drink segment. Today PaperBoat is India’s fastest growing consumer brand selling 11 different traditional-nostalgic Indian beverages and foods such as Aam Panna, Jaljeera, chikki among others. PaperBoat juice has distributors all over the country and has 48 SKUs. The single-serving flexible packages of PaperBoat are Doypack and interestingly, this is the type of packs that NASA uses for sending beverages with astronauts when they go to space. In August 2019, PaperBoat came together with Tetra Pack to introduce holographic packaging for two of its variants Alphonso Aamras and Pomegranate juice. This new packaging will not only look appealing to the consumer but is also easy to hold to provide the consumers a comfortable drinking experience.

PaperBoat also offers some seasonal drinks like thandai, Serbet-e-khaas, Rose Tamarind and Panakam. The company has managed to create a niche for itself and is looking to expand to other countries and target Indians there.

Founders of PaperBoat and Team

The founding fathers of PaperBoat are Neeraj Kakkar, James Nutall, Suhas Misra and Neeraj Biyani.

Neeraj Kakkar is the founder and CEO of Hector Beverage. Prior to starting with Hector Beverages, Neeraj had an impressive career with Coca-Cola for around 8 years. He is a graduate from Wharton Business School. Hector Beverages owner Neeraj Kakkar was a bright student and was awarded the highest academic honor, the Palmer scholar in the University of Pennsylvania business program.

Neeraj Biyani is an SRCC and MDI alumni and considers N. R. Narayana Murthy as his inspira­tion. Currently Neeraj Biyani is the COO of Hector Beverages. Neeraj worked with Agro Tech Foods Limited and Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd, before joining Hector Beverages.

James Nutall also went to the Wharton School of Business, Pennsylvania. James exited PaperBoat in 2015

Suhas Misra has a degree in marketing from IIM Calcutta. Suhas exited PaperBoat in 2014.

The company currently employs over 530 people.

PaperBoat History and Starting Up

The idea for the brand PaperBoat erupted during one of the office lunch that the co-founders would have together in the early years. Mishra's mother would pack him a flask of Aam Panna everyday and once while reaching out for the drink, as they were mulling over business ideas, a brain wave to commercially produce ethnic Indian drinks that were hitherto unavailable in the market struck, thus the idea for PaperBoat was born.

Vector Beverages, the parent company of PaperBoat established its first production plant in Manesar in 2009. However, with increase in demand, the Manesar plant couldn't keep up the production. The plant also didn't have the facilities for the manufacture of coconut water and sugar cane juice, drinks that the company was looking to launch. This led them to set up a second larger manufacturing unit in Mysore, Karnataka in 2014. While the Manesar plant has a production capacity of 80 bottles/minute, in the Mysore plant it is 380 bottles/minute.

Also Read: How Idea of BookmyShow came up

PaperBoat Company's name was coined by design and brand consultancy, Elephant Design. The other two names suggested by Elephant Design were Good Ol’ & Lost and Found. The name 'PaperBoat' was finally selected because PaperBoat evoked childhood memories and PaperBoat as a brand aims to revive the traditional drinks that many of us grew up drinking.

As revealed by 'Elephant Design' the name 'PaperBoat' was inspired by a well-known Jagjit Singh gazalWho Kagaj Woh Kagaz Ki Kashti Wo Barish Ka Pani” by Sudarshan Faakir.

PaperBoat's tagline is 'drinks and memories'

PaperBoat Logo

PaperBoat - Products

PaperBoat offers more than 11 types of ethnic drinks such as Jal Jeera, Aam Panna, Aam Ras, Alphonso Aam, Jamun Kala Khatta, Chilli Guava, Nimbu Pani, Kokum, Neer More, Kanji, Sugarcane juice, Lychee Ras, Apple and Orange. It also has a range of milk based beverages including Neer More, Butter Milk, Badam Milk and Thandai. The brand also launched Coconut Water in 2018. Apart from these, PaperBoat produces two seasonal drinks associated with Indian festivals, Panakam (available during Ram Navami) and Sherbet-e-Khas (available during Eid).

In 2017, when the brand expanded its offering by launching its drinks in 1 litre Tetra Prisma Aseptic cartons replacing 500 ml. This move widened the brand's reach to the multi-serve category.

Hector Beverages entered the traditional Indian Food Sector in 2016. Besides the PaperBoat drinks, Hector Beverages' products include  many traditional food like peanut chikki, Banana Chips, Aam Papad, Bakarwadi, Namak Para, Gur Para and Shakar Para. For producing chikki, the company procures its groundnuts directly from a farmers’ collective near Rajkot in Gujarat at the Fairtrade minimum price. PaperBoat chikki is a Fair-Trade product, a certification that ensures that everyone involved in the making of a product is fairly employed and paid.

Hector Beverages uses priority customer feedback analytics platform to survey customers on a large scale on whatsapp. Most recipe modification are often made after the conclusion driven from survey. Like the company used different types of mangoes for different region.  To make the recipe change it has to just change the modular machinery which can be done in 2-3 on computer.

Our intellectual property is the recipe. A small decimal change in pressure or temperature can alter the taste of our product and the unique differentiation can be lost,  said Neeraj Biyani.

PaperBoat - Funding and Investors

Hector Beverages, the makers of PaperBoat has raised over $ 38.2 Million funding to date.

Date Stage Amount Investors
May 2013 Series B $8 million Sequoia Capital India
July 2015 Series C $28.7 million Hillhouse Capital Group,
March 2019 Venture Round $1.5 million A91 Partners

The company counts Narayan Murthy as one of its investors. PaperBoat issued 10 million compulsorily convertible debentures to A91 Partners on a preferential basis at INR 10.

Also Read: How Ola is able to raise more and more funds

PaperBoat - Marketing Strategies

As a brand based on age-old recipes and memories, PaperBoat’s marketing strategy revolves around nostalgia, childhood and innocence. The brand name Paper Boat and the tag line, ‘Drinks and Memories’ is aimed to evoke childhood memories and remind the consumers of their innocence. Paper Boat's beverages are drinks that their consumers grew up drinking and carry a strong association with their childhood.

Paper Boat’s television advertising campaign consisted of a series of simple, evocative ads that reflected the brand idea of childhood nostalgia. Paper Boat’s debut campaign was penned and narrated by renowned poet and lyricist Gulzar, while the later campaign was written by lyricist Swanand Kirkire.

Apart from its television ads, the brand has also released a range short films celebrating childhood memories and nostalgia. ‘Ride Down the River of Memories’, ‘Waiting for Ma’, ‘My Struggles with the Treasure Chest’ and ‘Hum Honge Kamyab’ (We shall Overcome)– are all short films aimed at bringing out the child in everyone. The video used animation, narration and strong characterization to tell a moving tale.

As an extension of its marketing campaign, Paper Boat has also ventured into book publishing. It has published reprints of the classics, Three Men in a Boat and Jungle Book, which were given away with the beverages as part of gift boxes and sales offers.

In 2017, the brand published Half Pants Full Pants by Anand Suspi, a collection of real-life tales about growing up in Shimoga.

PaperBoat - Startup Challenges

Limited distribution is perhaps, one of the biggest challenges for PaperBoat.

In terms of design restrictions, the team faced challenges when it came to colours. Paper Boat's personality is resonant in the colours on the pack. On a doypack the colours react in a different way. But the substrate on Tetra Pak is different. the colours are very strong identity for the brand and going far away from it would have been a huge risk for the brand.

PaperBoat - Competitors

PaperBoat's  major competitors are, Dabur India, PepsiCo, Coca Cola, B Natural and Nourishco.

While Dabur India has entered the functional drink market with aam panna,   beverage giants PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, have also entered in the non-carbonated drinks space. Again, B Natural, a ITC owned brand is  posing competition for PaperBoat with a wide variety of Indian beverages which are made without the use of any concentrate. Noursihco, a joint venture between Tata Global Beverages Pvt. Ltd. and Pepsico India Holdings Pvt. Ltd.which is operating in the non carbonated drink segment is also giving competition to PaperBoat.

PaperBoat - Partnership

The company has partnerd with Indo Nissin Foods to expand into smaller cities.  paperboat is also partnering with large e-commerce and grocery delivery companies to make sure the product is avaibale to user anytime even in the remote locations.

PaperBoat - Acquisitions

Tata global beverage which is currently a leader in tea, coffee and water wanted to acquire paperboat in feb 2018, but the deal seems to be cancelled.

PaperBoat - Growth

In 2017, PaperBoat's sales increased by 12.5%. The company reported sales of 69 Crores in 2016-17. In the fiscal year 2017-2018,  PaperBoat's total revenue grew by 70% to 118 crores from 69 crores in last year. According to sources in FY 2019, PaperBoat's turnover is about 200 Crore.

Hector Beverages' valuation in March 2019 was $130.2 million (INR 876 Cr.). While Hector Beverages' share price is INR 798 each.

PaperBoat has two factories one in Mysore and one in Manesar, Gurgaon and can produce up to 10 million of the pouches per month.

In Nov 2018, the company distributes their products in over 50,000 outlets and exports to over 10 countries. The company is also trying to expand into foreign lands such as America, Britain, France, Canada, Australia, Netherlands, the UAE and Malaysia, essentially where people from Indian origin live.

Major business of the company comes from 6 cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune and Chennai.

PaperBoat - Contact

330, Finchley Castle, Outer Circle, Dodsworth Layout, Whitefield, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560066

Papeboat contact number: 080 2845 2050

Paperboat emailid: [email protected]

We have covered such details story about other Indian startups too,  read about them here.

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About Shubham Kumar

Founder @StartupTalky. IIT KGP grad. Learner. Dedicated to the service of the startup Ecosystem. Love meeting people. Let's connect - [email protected]
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