Mumbai: From KC College To Shark Tank; Alumnus Gains Spotlight With Innovative Tea Brand

Mumbai: From KC College To Shark Tank; Alumnus Gains Spotlight With Innovative Tea Brand

Jay Sotta, a KC College alumnus, initially had no interest in his family’s century-old tea business. However, during the COVID-19 lockdown, he stepped in to help and launched SOTTA’s, an online brand for flavoured teas. Teaming up with his cousin Aakash, they created Cup-ji and their venture caught the attention of Shark Tank India, where they pitched their idea.

Sunnypriya PandeyUpdated: Thursday, May 23, 2024, 10:06 AM IST
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FPJ

Mumbai: Jay Sotta, a young entrepreneur with a passion for innovation, has been making waves in the beverage industry. Born into a family with a century-long history in the tea business, Sotta initially had no interest in following the family trade. However, life had other plans.

Sotta spent the first 22 years of his life steering clear of the tea business. His interests lay elsewhere, leading him to pursue FTNMP from KC College to enter the film industry. However, the COVID-19 pandemic brought the industry to a standstill just as he graduated, leaving him with few options.

During the lockdown, Sotta’s father’s retail tea shop had to close. With tea being an essential commodity, Sotta stepped in to help keep the business running. It was then that he noticed an issue with the retail tea business and decided to take it online. Thus, SOTTA’s was born, a brand offering flavoured teas online. Sotta utilised his skills from FTNMP to do product photography and create recipe videos, making SOTTA’s a successful brand.

Despite the success of SOTTA’s, Sotta realised that he could only service a certain amount of demand due to manufacturing limitations. Around this time, his distant cousin, Aakash, returned from the U.S. Both shared a love for coffee and a mutual dislike for tea. They noticed a trend towards healthier green tea options during the pandemic and decided to capitalise on it. They aimed to make green tea tastier to appeal to the Indian audience, leading to the creation of Cup-ji.

Cup-ji offers a range of flavours, like Paan green tea, Chatkara green tea, Kashmiri Kahwa green tea, and a lot more. They innovated further by offering their green tea in paper cups, making it ready to drink with just the addition of hot water.

Sotta and Aakash got the opportunity to pitch Cup-ji on Shark Tank. Although they faced mixed emotions during the process, it was a huge learning experience for them. They learned the importance of thinking big, a lesson imparted by the sharks, who were busy making the best deal for themselves.

Outside of his professional life, Sotta is a movie enthusiast with a love for any form of film or content. He also enjoys spreading knowledge, which led him to become a visiting faculty member at KC, teaching effective communication skills to first-year students and cinema trends and technology to third-year students. He used to enjoy reading self-help and psychology books in his free time but currently struggles to find the time for it. He says that his life in KC and RCKC (Rotaract Club of KC College), where he served as president, has taught him a lot of things, and he is the individual he is today because of those experiences.

Sotta’s vision for Cup-ji is to make it a global brand. They are already exporting to five countries, including Saudi Arabia, Australia, Dubai and Japan. Their long-term mission is to become an innovative futuristic beverage solution, offering healthy teas, coffees and alternative beverage options. They aim to provide an alternative to the calorie-loaded options currently available on the market.

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