Brewing A Coffee Business

Rage Coffee employs an omnichannel approach, selling 50 per cent of its products online and the rest offline

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From coffee chains to boutique coffee shops, Asia has witnessed coffee shops mushrooming.

Rage Coffee

Remember the Dalgona coffee trend from last year? Everybody seemed to be making it during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. While it seemed like it was an experiment out of sheer boredom, for many, it could also be out of a need for a better coffee experience.

Apart from some parts of South India, where people enjoy their freshly brewed filter coffee at home, most parts of the country drink coffee either at cafes or in offices. During the COVID-induced lockdowns, cafes were shut and people were no longer going to their offices, where they got their daily coffee from the vending machines. This led to an increase in in-home coffee consumption.

Brands like Rage Coffee gave people their instant coffee fix. The new-age startup seems to greatly benefit from this rising demand.

It all started with a simple thought to solve a personal problem: how to get great-tasting coffee without spending much time brewing one and also not shelling out too much money in cafes. Rage Coffee's chief executive officer and founder Bharat Sethi started collecting data, conducting surveys, and soon established that the coffee market in India had many unserved gaps. In fact, there was no lifestyle aspirational brand built around such an emotional subject that is ‘coffee’. The category remained largely underserved, was devoid of any real innovation, and was underpenetrated online. Moreover, the balance between affordability, consuming and quality were also missing.

Essentially, he wanted to upgrade an average consumer who could pay INR 100 more on their monthly consumption of coffee and get inspired to tell us a whole new experience of coffee in terms of quality, affordability as well as consumption.

“Our next immediate focus was on ingredients, formulations, manufacturing techniques, packaging, and direct-to-consumer distribution to bring a premium quality product along with a unique coffee experience to everyone. Thus, Rage Coffee was born in 2018.  So, all in all, it fell at the right intersection of a personal passion and a huge market gap,” shared Sethi while beaming with pride for his venture.

The rapidly growing fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brand that manufactures, markets, and distributes innovative coffee products globally has quickly captured a category that was devoid of any innovation, largely underserved, and underpenetrated online.

“The brand’s approach to sourcing, supply chain, consumer segmentation, research and development (R&D), direct-to-consumer (D2C) data-driven DNA along with its hybrid distribution model further added to its skyrocketing growth. Besides our packaging innovation, Rage is a company born out of feedback as we use data and extensive R&D to deliver a premium quality product,” he stated about the company's driving belief.

The company has recently raised $5 million of growth capital as part of its Series A funding round led by Sixth Sense Ventures.

The company employs an omnichannel approach, selling 50 per cent of its products online and the rest offline. On the online front, about 75 per cent of sales are done via its website and 25 per cent through e-commerce platforms. Rage Coffee is available on all major online platforms in India. In fact, the brand has also entered the US market through Amazon. 

“Even before we launched officially in 2018, our journey started conducting research and collecting data points and these made me realized the gaps that existed. Through our research, we identified that caffeine kick, as well as sensory aspects such as taste and aroma, are very important for a coffee drinker. In-depth research led us to focus on innovating on these aspects that helped us in building the next generation of coffee products, infused with six plant-based vitamins - that synergistically work with caffeine bringing in a distinctive kick,” Sethi said while mentioning the kind of research that has gone into the establishment and its procedures.

The brand is planning to expand its online presence and offline footprint pan-India and is utilizing the fresh capital for marketing and distribution purposes. The startup is using the funds raised to scale production, launch innovative new products, and get senior management talent onboard.

Currently, the company’s focus is on expanding its distribution network. The platform further target to grow its revenues threefold and reach over 3,000 retailers by the end of this year.