Popular retail chain Chaayos has raised $21.5 million in an equity and debt mix (Series-B2 round) led by Silicon Valley-based investment firm Think Investments.
The tea cafe chain, led by Sunshine Teahouse Pvt Ltd raised $18.5 million of primary capital from Think Investments and other investors, and $3 million debt investment from InnoVen Capital in the said round.
Existing investors SAIF Partners, Tiger Global Management, former WhatsApp chief business officer Neeraj Arora and Hong Kong-based Integrated Capital also took part in the new financing round.
"We will deploy the capital to expand our store network, hire a few more senior people, and invest more in technology," Chaayos founder and chief executive officer Nitin Saluja told the Livemint.
The popular Indian cafe chain had in September 2018 raised $12 million from Integrated Capital, Singapore-based investment firm, Pactolus and SAIF Partners.
Gurugram-based Chaayos was founded in the year 2012 by IITians (Nitin) Saluja and Raghav Verma. The company currently operates 80 stores, out of which 50 are present in Delhi-NCR, 22 in Mumbai and eight in Bengaluru.
Saluja told the news daily that Chaayos is confident of increasing the number of its stores to 300 across cities they already have a presence in, over the next three to four years.
The cafe chain recently was at the receiving end of a lot of backlash over the use of facial recognition technology which was set up at some of its outlets.
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Customers at Chaayos took to social media to complain about the camera technology they said captured images of them without their consent, with no information on what the data would be used for, and no option to opt-out.
However, a statement from Chaayos said the technology was being tested in select cafes and was aimed at reducing purchase times for customers. The data was encrypted, would not be shared, and customers could choose to opt-out, it added.
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