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From Farm To Cup: Bala Sarda, Founder & CEO, Vahdam Teas

Vahdam Teas is disrupting the 200-year-old supply chain of tea by building the world’s first vertically integrated global tea brand.

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Founded In 2015 By Bala Sarda, a fourth-generation tea entrepreneur, Vahdam Teas’ mission is to build a global tea and superfoods brand. With direct sourcing from estates across India and local distribution in key markets like the US, Vahdam is India’s largest premium homegrown tea brand for the world. At the age of 23, Bala started Vahdam Teas and in 4 years, it has taken India Tea to the global stage under a grown label and also build the world’s truly vertically integrated global brand, with its subsidiaries and presence in the US and Europe. 

“If there is any product, where India needs to build a global brand, it’s tea,” said Sarda. Vahdam retains the profits at the origin of harvest and helps Indian tea farmers of the area get a deserving price for their efforts, thus empowering them to build a better and sustainable future for themselves. 

The tea industry is over $90 billion markets, whereas Vahdam Teas has risen over $1160 million from India’s top consumer funds and family offices. Having shipped its premium teas to more than 90 countries around the world, Vahdam Teas became India’s first company to be featured on the prestigious list of Oprah Winfrey’s list of Favorite Things for 2018. 

Vahdam Teas is disrupting the 200-year-old supply chain of tea by building the world’s first vertically integrated global tea brand. “We source directly from plantations, packaged at our state-of-art facility in India and import by our company subsidiaries in the US and Europe, from where it is delivered directly to consumers. Such a control over the entire experience right from the farm to the cup gives the brand a supreme command over customer experience, and the ability to build a highly scalable global brand. In addition, the brand offers a collection of 75-plus signature blends, which have over 22 awards in the last 2 years. 

It recently closed a Series C Round of funding and the investors include Fireside Ventures, a new top consumer fund (Current round) & HNI family offices. The brand has also been endorsed by global icon Oprah Winfrey. 

Bala narrates the biggest challenge encountered by his company. He said, “India grows some of the finest teas, spices and ingredients in the world. However, for decades, we have relied on bulk exports & have been poor at building brands. Building Vahdam, a key challenge in the early was to create customer trust and recognition for a homegrown India label. We overcame the challenge by creating a customer experience above the highest global standards, in terms of product quality, packaging & brand.”  

Vahdam Teas is also the world first vertically integrated tea brand. The brand has subsidiaries in 2 countries, pays taxes in 10 countries across the globe & has delivered teas to over 90 countries globally. It has been growing with a CAGR of 220 per cent year over year.  Setting this up for a food product, with strict importation laws worldwide, has been one of the key differentiators & achievements for the brand, which will help it scale 10X from here on, without any concern.  

Despite growing teas for over 200 years, Vahdam has been the pioneer of taking India’s finest teas to the world; under a socially responsible, proud Indian label and disrupting the traditional supply chain of tea. A tea enthusiast, he dreams of putting an Indian tea brand on the global stage. Prior to founding Vahdam Teas, he started 3 successful student startups: Youth 360, a youth network andb10Media, a digital marketing company while still in college.    

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