TeaFit, a healthy drinks startup founded by Jyoti Bharadwaj in 2021, recently made a successful pitch on Shark Tank India. The brand produces zero-calorie healthy drinks made with natural herbs and ingredients, without sugar or a sweetener. Since its launch, TeaFit has sold ₹15 lakh worth of products to over 20,000 customers online and offline.
During the pitch on Shark Tank India, Bharadwaj impressed the judges with her sharp pitch, spouting off minute details about the product's pricing and packaging. Her two children, aged eight and five, who have been a part of her entrepreneurial journey, accompanied her.
TeaFit's product offerings include Green Tea, Black Tea, and Barley Tea, along with instant premixes. Bharadwaj's innovative approach to healthy beverages was a hit with the judges and viewers alike. Even Aman Gupta, co-founder of boAt and a lover of sugary drinks, was left impressed after sampling TeaFit's teas on the show.
The judges were impressed with TeaFit's potential and made multiple investment offers. Sugar Cosmetics' co-founder Vineeta Singh and Shaadi.com's founder Anupam Mittal jointly offered ₹50 lakhs for 25% equity, which valued the company at two crores. Lenskart's co-founder Peyush Bansal followed with an offer of ₹50 lakh for 20% equity, which raised its value to ₹2.5 crores. However, it was boAt co-founder Aman Gupta's offer of ₹50 lakh for 10% equity that immediately doubled the valuation to five crores. Bansal, Singh, and Mittal instantly responded that they would match Gupta's offer.
Bharadwaj sought a collective investment of ₹50 lakhs from all four judges for 8% equity. This valued the startup at ₹6.25 crore. The judges accepted this offer, and TeaFit's value zoomed from two crores to ₹6.25 crore.
TeaFit's success did not happen overnight. Bharadwaj's entrepreneurial journey started after she graduated from the Manipal Institute of Technology and pursued an MBA in Finance and Marketing from the Indian School of Business (ISB). Before starting her venture, she worked with the startup UrbanFresh and real-estate portal Housing.com.
TeaFit's first investment of ten lakhs came from Bharadwaj's mother-in-law, Dr Urmila Pandey. Her mother-in-law is a PhD holder and a former professor who had to give up her professional career due to family obligations. But she kept the spirit of financial independence and ambition alive in her daughters and daughter-in-law.
Bharadwaj faced several challenges when launching TeaFit. The first commercial batch of TeaFit was launched in March 2021, and Bharadwaj signed up with national retail chains before going into production. Shortly after the launch, a second lockdown was imposed in India. Undeterred, Bharadwaj partnered with e-commerce giant Amazon.
"Over the last 12 months, during subsequent batches, every single one of my fears has come true. Bottles came out distorted; filters got choked, entire batches were trashed, labels didn't fit, long power cuts, over-brewing, you name it. But you know what? We made it past every single one of them and have consistently produced world-class beverages batch after batch," shared Bharadwaj a year after TeaFit started in an old LinkedIn
Here are some key learnings for women in business from this blog:
- Pursue your passion: Jyoti Bharadwaj's success with TeaFit is evidence of the power of pursuing your passion. Despite facing numerous obstacles along the way, she remained committed to her vision of providing healthy drinks made with natural ingredients.
- Seek mentorship and support: Bharadwaj's mother-in-law provided the initial investment for TeaFit, and she also credits her mentors at UrbanFresh and Housing.com with helping her develop the skills and knowledge necessary to launch her own business.
- Embrace online channels: Despite facing setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bharadwaj was able to partner with e-commerce giant Amazon to sell TeaFit products online.
- Be adaptable: Bharadwaj faced numerous challenges during the launch of TeaFit, including distorted bottles, choked filters, and label sizing issues. However, she overcame these obstacles and consistently produced high-quality beverages.
- Have a clear vision: Bharadwaj effectively communicated her vision for TeaFit to the Shark Tank India judges, which helped secure a collective investment of ₹50 lakh for 8% equity.
Overall, Jyoti Bharadwaj's success with TeaFit offers numerous valuable lessons for women in business. By pursuing your passions, believing in your product, seeking mentorship and support, embracing online channels, being adaptable, building a strong team, and having a clear vision, you can overcome obstacles and succeed in the competitive entrepreneurship world.