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

Founded in 2010 and Headquartered at Bangalore, paperboat is a brand owned by hector beverages. It is India’s fastest growing consumer brand selling 11 different traditional-nostalgic Indian beverages and foods such as Aam Panna, Jaljeera, chikki among others with 48 SKUs  in contemporary, modern packaging. While its first product was energy drink Tzinga, the company shifted complete focus to the ethnic drinks segment two years later, and managed to create a niche for itself.  The company is looking to expand to other countires and target Indians there.

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PaperBoat - Vision & Mission

PaperBoat aims to preserve traditional recipes while using innovation to make the ethnic Indian drinks accessible to an urban market. The company is also focusing to cater local and personlised taste.

PaperBoat - Founder

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

Neeraj Kakkar is the CEO of Hector Beverag. Prior to starting with Hector Beverages, Neeraj had an impressive career with Coca-Cola for around 8 years. Neeraj is a graduate from Wharton Business School. He was awarded the highest academic honour, the palmer scholar in the University of Pennsylvania business program.

James Nutall also went to the Wharton School of Business, Pennsylvania. Suhas Misra has a degree in marketing from IIM Calcutta, while

Neeraj Biyani

Neeraj is an SRCC and MDI alumni and considers N. R. Narayana Murthy is his inspira­tion.

PaperBoat - The Idea

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.

PaperBoat's first production plant was established in Manesar in 2010. 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 and then headquarter shifted from gurugram to mysuru. 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 - Major Challenges Faced

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 - Product

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.

PaperBoat expanded to the traditional food segment in 2016 by launching 3 varients of Peanut Chikki. 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. The company procures its groundnuts directly from a farmers’ collective near Rajkot in Gujarat at the Fairtrade minimum price. Later the company also introduced Banana Chips, Aam Papad, Bakarwadi, Namak Para, Gur Para and Shakar Para.

It used priorotoy 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 - Growth

In the fiscal year 2017-2018 the total revenue of the company grew by 70% to 118 crores from 69 crores in last year.  The company is targetting 200 crocres  next year.

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.

Hector Beverages presently has two manufacturing facilities, one in Mysore and one in Manesar, Gurgaon and can produce up to ten million of the pouches per day.

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

In Nov 2018, the company distributes their products in over 50,000 outlets and exports to over 10 countries.  

PaperBoat- Funding

Till now the company has raised more than $46 Million at the valuation of $101 Mn. The founders control about 30% of the company and 70% resides with the investors.

The company counts Narayan Murthy as one of its investors.

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

PaperBoat Team

The company currently employs over 530 people.

Paper Boat- Marketing

As a brand based on age-old recipes and memories, Paper Boat’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 beveragesare 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 Acquisition

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 - Competitors

PaperBoat has competition from Dabur India has entered the functional drink market with Aam Panna. And, beverage giants PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have a presence in the non-carbonated drinks space.

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 - Contact

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

Papeboat contact number: 080 2845 2050

Paperboat emailid: paperboat@hectorbeverages.com

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

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