Divam Wadhwa, Founder - Chai Nagri has been recognized as Under 30 Rising Entrepreneurs by Business Mint
Chai Nagri is a Beverage & Food Start up by engineer turned entrepreneurs; Divam Wadhwa & Simran Singh. Divam comes from a typical Indian middle-class family and is a Computer Science Engineer by qualification. He conceptualized and started Chai Nagri in the end of year 2018.
‘Chai is the staple drink of India therefore tea stalls are available in nook & corner of the country, still most of the tea vendors are below poverty line.’ This was the guiding principle & has been the foundation of the Divam’s first start-up Idea. The initial idea was to create a technology-based Tea vendor collaboration app. He started conceptualizing and working on this idea in the third year of his Engineering along with his two College friends. Intense hard work of almost 200 days, endless sleepless nights, multiple visits to the vendors, presentations to government officials et. al; but Divam & his friends could not give life to their idea because of infrastructure and other factors & failed miserably.
Divam’s other two Friends exited from the Idea and dream of starting the own venture. All three of them, including Divam decided to sit for Campus Placements and got campus placed with a decent package. Everyone around, including the families was glad and Divam was still not sure if that was his future.
Next 3 months, he just focused on his job and learnt multiple things on the job , however, after office hours, he just thought about his unfulfilled dream. The unfulfilled dream was to “Provide jobs to others and not to be employed himself.” This was not letting him sleep. One fine morning, he woke up determined to start again. He spoke with his childhood friend, Simran Singh, Computer Science Engineer, working in IT Sector. Divam convinced Simran to leave the job & join him in his dream to be an entrepreneur. Simran readily agreed. Both left the job without informing the parents and together had just 50,000 in pocket to start a new venture. Both moved to Panchkula, Haryana, borrowed money from friends and started exploring the options. Considering the financial constraint, they decided to start a small-scale canteen in a Centre nearby. This was meant just for ‘Survival’ as they could eventually go out of funds. Never ever they thought that this would lay down the foundation of their start up “Chai Nagri”.
They ran that canteen for 6 Months, had multiple setbacks as they had no relation to this industry in generations and were not from hotel management or Business qualifications. After a tough journey, full of ups & downs and continuous losses for 6 months, the profits started reflecting. All throughout, they were bashed with multiple taunts from extended family & Friends that ‘Engineering kar ke Chaiwala ban gaya’, 'service family waloon ke bas ka nahi business karna’, ‘ job karo easy life jeeyo ’ That was indeed humiliating but they were determined to make it BIG and did not stop learning from their on the job mistakes.
And here they are today, from Canteen to Live Cafeterias to Chain of joints to Franchise Model and so on. Chai Nagri has now 25+ outlets across the country and presence in 7 states and it is expected to open 50 new outlets in next 12 months. They successfully survived Pandemic and had paid full salary to their employees even during Covid. They have recently entered in premium gifting segment of tea boxes and had a revenue of more than 50 Lacs in just two months.
To recapitulate, this is the journey of Chai Nagri from profits of INR 700 per day, 1 employee and 1 small size canteen to revenue of INR 200,000 per day, 135 employees and 25+ dine and takeaway counters in 7 States at the age of 26 Years.
Chai Nagri’s future plan is to diversify in product segment and increase the reach in e-commerce market. They are also launching IOT based Tea vending machine and India’s Tiniest Tea Cart.