Neeraj Kakkar, co-founder, and CEO of Hector Beverages, which produces Paper Boat drinks, raised $50M in August 2022. He warned entrepreneurs that raising money at high valuations could be counterproductive, as it puts pressure to live up to the valuation immediately. He admitted it cost him “sleepless nights” despite the initial celebration of hitting a high valuation.
Their valuation was Rs 600 crore in 2020 and media reports suggest it exceeded $200 million last year.
Who is Neeraj Kakkar?
Founded in 2009, Hector Beverages is a company co-founded by Neeraj Kakkar. The company, headquartered in Bengaluru, produces Paper Boat drinks and Tzinga Energy drinks. Prior to founding Hector Beverages, Kakkar held the position of General Manager at Coca-Cola.
Neeraj Kakkar, CEO and co-founder of Hector Beverages completed his MBA from The Wharton School in the United States and Management Development Institute in Gurgaon. Along with co-founders Suhas Misra, James Nuttall, and Neeraj Biyani, he launched the company with an initial capital of Rs 2.5 crore, and their first product was Tzinga, an energy drink. They later introduced Paper Boat, which gained a significant following.
He attributed his inspiration to Suhas Misra, who was his junior at Coca-Cola, in an old interview. He mentioned that he had become an entrepreneur three years before Misra.
Kanwaljit Singh, one of the co-founders at Helion Ventures, was one of the three inspirational figures for Neeraj Kakkar. Singh believed that the food sector was the best industry to start a business in and also acted as their angel investor. The second figure was Neeraj’s former colleague Shripad Nadkarni, who was the Head of Marketing at Coca-Cola. The third figure was Narayan Murthy, the founder of Infosys, who is an early investor and has been a guiding force behind the company. Neeraj stated that Murthy never interfered with their work but always had valuable insights into value systems.
Kakkar, who resides in Bengaluru, had once shared that Narayan Murthy wrote to him that it took him 33 years to make Infosys a billion-dollar company, but the next billion came in just 18 months.