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India is a land of diversity. This variance extends to language, culture, food, attire, and whatnot. From Jal-jeera, the popular drink of north India, to kokum sherbet, the specialty of Maharashtra, the Indian food culture is earmarked with different beverages as one traverses across the Indian geography. The entry of global beverage brands in the Indian market, complemented with the fact that traditional Indian drinks are not as easily available as the packaged ones, has severely affected the popularity of these specialties.
To ensure traditional Indian drinks don't fall into oblivion, Paper Boat, a Gurugram-based startup is going above and beyond. It has now established itself as a well-known brand with a vision to preserve ethnic recipes through innovation. The Paper Boat company is also catering to local and personalized tastes.
Paper Boat - Company Highlights
- Startup Name-Paper Boat
- Founders-Neeraj Kakkar, James Nuttall, Suhas Misra, and Neeraj Biyani
- Industry-Juice and Beverages
- Parent Organization-Hector Beverages
Paper Boat - About
Hector Beverages was founded in 2009 by Neeraj Kakkar. The Paper Boat company was launched by Hector Beverages in 2013. Before launching it, Hector Beverages launched 'Frissia', a protein drink, followed by the energy drink 'Tzinga' in 2011.
With the launch of Paper Boat juice company, in 2013, Hector Beverages shifted its focus to the traditional Indian drinks segment. Paper Boat is India’s fastest-growing consumer brand today, selling 11 different traditional-nostalgic Indian foods and beverages such as Aam Panna, jaljeera, chikki, and much more.
Paper Boat, the juice company has distributors all over India with 48 SKUs. The single-serving flexible packages use Doypack, and interestingly, NASA uses the same for sending beverages with astronauts. In August 2019, the company collaborated with Tetra Pak and introduced holographic packaging for two of its juice variants: Alphonso Aamras and pomegranate juice. This new packaging is both appealing and easy to hold.
Paper Boat also offers seasonal drinks like thandai, serbet-e-khaas, rose tamarind, and panakam. The company has carved a niche and is targeting Indians in other countries.
Paper Boat - Target Market Size
As per 2021 report by Technopak, the Indian packaged juice market is valued at $200 million and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 15% over the next two years.
Paper Boat - Founders And Team
Neeraj Kakkar, James Nuttall, Suhas Misra, and Neeraj Biyani form the founding team of Paper Boat.
Founders of Paper Boat
Founders of Paper Boat
Neeraj Kakkar is the CEO of Hector Beverages. Before Hector Beverages, Neeraj had an impressive stint with Coca-Cola for around 8 years. He is a graduate of Wharton Business School. Neeraj was a bright student and was a Palmer scholar at the University of Pennsylvania's business program.
Neeraj Biyani is the co-founder and COO. He is an SRCC and MDI alumnus; Neeraj considers N. R. Narayana Murthy as his inspiration. Neeraj worked with Agro Tech Foods Limited and Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd. before joining Hector Beverages.
James Nutall is the co-founder of Paper Boat and was the CFO. James is also a Wharton alumnus. After pursuing his chemical engineering from Brigham University, he worked with Dow Chemicals for six years. James exited the company in 2015.
Suhas Misra is the co-founder and Director at Hector Beverages. Suhas did his MBA from IIM Calcutta (class of 2003) and joined Coca-Cola from campus. He moved to Nokia in 2005 before starting ChannelPlay, India's first integrated sales process outsourcing company (www.channelplay.in), in 2006.
Paper Boat currently employs over 530 people.
Paper Boat - History And Launch
The idea for Paper Boat blossomed during an office lunch between the co-founders in the early years. As they were mulling over potential business ideas, the flask of Aam Panna that Suhas Misra's mother would pack him everyday ignited a thought. Commercial production of ethnic Indian drinks, hitherto unavailable in the market, struck well with all.
Hector Beverages, the parent company of Paper Boat, established its first production plant in Manesar in 2009. However, the Manesar plant couldn't keep up with increasing demand. The plant also didn't have the facilities for the manufacture of coconut water and sugarcane juice, drinks that the company was looking forward to launch. This led to the setting up of a second, much larger manufacturing unit in Mysore, Karnataka in 2014. While the Manesar plant has a production capacity of 80 bottles/minute, the Mysore plant is capable of 380 bottles/minute.
Also Read: How Idea of BookmyShow came up
Paper Boat - Name, Tagline, And Logo
The name Paper Boat was coined by design and brand consultancy Elephant Design. Two other names suggested by Elephant Design were Good Ol’ and Lost and Found. At the end, Paper Boat was chosen as it evoked childhood memories of kids drinking nimbu-pani, sherbet, etc.
Sources at Elephant Design revealed that the name 'Paper Boat' was inspired by a well-known Jagjit Singh gazal, 'Who Kagaj Woh Kagaz Ki Kashti Wo Barish Ka Pani' by Sudarshan Faakir.
Paper Boat's tagline is 'drinks and memories'.
Paper Boat - Products
Paper Boat company offers more than 11 types of ethnic drinks and juices: 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 like buttermilk, badam milk, and thandai. The brand also launched coconut water in 2018. Apart from these, Paper Boat produces two seasonal drinks associated with Indian festivals—Panakam (available during Ram Navami) and Sherbet-e-Khas (available during Eid).
In 2017, the brand expanded its offering by launching its drinks in 1 liter Tetra Prisma Aseptic cartons, replacing the 500 ml packs. This move widened the brand's reach to include the multi-serve category.
Hector Beverages entered the traditional Indian food sector in 2016. Besides the Paper Boat drinks, Hector Beverages' products include traditional delicacies like peanut chikki, banana chips, aam papad, bakarwadi, namak para, gur para, and shakar para. For producing chikki, the company procures groundnuts directly from a farmers’ collective near Rajkot at the fair-trade minimum price. Paper Boat chikki is a fair-trade product, a certification to attest that everyone involved in the making of a product is fairly employed and paid.
Hector Beverages uses a priority customer feedback analytics platform to survey customers on a large scale through WhatsApp. Most of the recipe modifications are made after conclusions are derived from the survey.
"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, Co-founder and COO.
Paper Boat - Funding And Investors
Paper Boat has raised a total of $103.5 Million in funding 14 rounds. Its latest funding of $3.8 millionnwas raised on July 2, 2020, from Series C funding round.
The company boasts of Narayana Murthy as one of its investors. Paper Boat issued 10 million compulsorily convertible debentures to A91 Partners on a preferential basis at INR 10.
Paper Boat - Marketing Strategies
As a brand relying on age-old recipes and memories, Paper Boat's marketing strategy revolves around nostalgia, childhood, and innocence. The company's beverages are drinks that consumers grew up drinking and carry a strong association with.
Their television advertising campaign comprises a series of simple, evocative ads that reflect the childhood nostalgia. Paper Boat’s debut campaign was penned and narrated by the renowned poet and lyricist Gulzar; the latter campaign was written by lyricist Swanand Kirkire.
Apart from its television ads, the brand has also released a range of short films celebrating childhood memories and nostalgia as part of the Paper Boat marketing strategy. ‘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 us. The videos 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'; these were given away with the beverages in 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.
Paper Boat - Startup Challenges
Limited distribution is one of the biggest challenges for Paper Boat. In terms of design restrictions, the team faced issues when it came to the colors. Paper Boat's personality is in sync with the colors on the pack. On a doypack, the colors react differently. But the substrate on Tetra Pak is different. This was an obstacle.
Paper Boat - 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 ventured into the non-carbonated drinks space. B Natural, an ITC-owned brand, is posing competition for Paper Boat through a wide variety of Indian beverages made without the use of any concentrate. Noursihco, a joint venture between Tata Global Beverages Pvt. Ltd. and Pepsico India Holdings Pvt. Ltd., is giving serious challenge to Paper Boat.
Paper Boat - Partnership
The company has partnered with Indo Nissin Foods for penetration in smaller cities. Paper Boat is also partnering with large e-commerce and grocery delivery companies to make sure its products are available to everyone at all times.
Paper Boat - Acquisitions
Tata Global Beverages wanted to acquire Paper Boat in February 2018, but the deal didn't progress.
Paper Boat - Growth
In 2017, Paper Boat's sales increased by 12.5%. The company reported sales of $9.5 million (INR 69 crore) in 2016-17. Paper Boat's total revenue grew by 70% to $16.25 million (INR 118 crore) in 2017-18. In the financial year 2019, Hector Beverages posted a revenue of $26.1 million (INR 189.56 crore), a 62% increase from $16.1 million (INR 116.94 crore) in FY18. In FY19, the company also managed to marginally cut down its losses by 1.92% to $8.2 million (INR 59.88 crore) from $8.4 million (INR 61.03 crore) in FY18.
Hector Beverages, the maker of Paper boat has reported 20% increase in the financial year 2020. The company's revenue grew from $26.8 million (INR 195 Cr) in financial year 2019 to $32.3 million (INR 235 Cr) in financial year 2020.
Hector Beverages' valuation was $120.8 million (INR 876 crore) in March 2019. Paper Boat has two factories that produce up to 10 million pouches per month.
As per November 2018 stats, the company distributes its products in over 50,000 outlets and exports them to over 10 countries. The company is moving to America, Britain, France, Canada, Australia, Netherlands, U.A.E, and Malaysia since Indian origin individuals reside in these countries in huge numbers.
In India, significant business for Paper Boat comes from six cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, and Chennai.
Is paper boat an Indian company?
Paper Boat is India's fastest-growing consumer brand, selling different traditional Indian beverages and foods.
Who is the founder of Paper Boat?
Neeraj Kakkar, James Nuttall, Suhas Misra, and Neeraj Biyani are founders of Paper Boat.
Why is paper boat called paper boat?
Paper Boat” is reminiscent of playing with paper boats as a childhood memory. It's a nostalgic feeling. The company's name revolves around this nostalgia.
What is special about paper boat?
The company's aim is to preserve traditional recipes of India using innovation to make ethnic Indian drinks. Paper Boat does not use artificial coloring or preservatives in its products.