Milk Mantra, the new dairy startup, is aiming to modernize India’s milk industry with data science and subscription services.
Srikumar Misra relocated to his home in eastern India armed with knowledge about app building, data science, and social media. One of his chief goals is to leverage the fact that many rural areas in India now have internet access.
His venture, Milk Mantra, aims to offer an online subscription plan for regular deliveries.
Hard Fought Investment Battles Paying Dividends
Over the course of 2 years, Misra collected around $5-million USD for his initial startup.
He got 21 angel investors in India and England to deliver $1.5-million. An unnamed VC firm ponied up another $1-million and the rest came from a $2-million loan from an Indian bank.
But soon after, a VC arm of Fidelity invested around $8-million into the company.
With a clear vision and capital to execute it, Misra moved on making Milk Mantra into a reality, pairing ethics and technology.
Milk Mantra compensates farmers more than non-standard collectors for their product. The company also helps track the quality and quantity that these milk farmers produce. This information helps the farmers better determine the market value of their product.
With around 300-million cows and buffalo producing around 165-million metric tons of milk a year, that’s no insignificant boon to milk producers and milk farms.
How Indian People View Milk Mantra
Supply chains such as that in the U.S. don’t quite exist in India.
Many milk vendors sell from small roadside stalls or depend on home delivery men. According to the Wall Street Journal, the milk may be mixed into other products or even delivered totally unprocessed
Misra saw this as an opportunity to improve the industry and the quality of life for Indians living in more rural areas.
“There was a huge problem with food products that people could trust. The opportunity was addressing this trust deficit,” Misra believed that because many Indians boil their milk for fear of quality that a higher quality milk would be very successful.
He and his wife also leveraged social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp to expand their market and brand visibility.
“Milky Moo” — the Milk Mantra brand — produces a variety of products including paneer — a type of cottage cheese used in certain kinds of Indian cooking. It offers consistency, safety, and brand recognition most milk vendors can’t offer in rural areas.
Using Data Science to Improve the Industry
But improving Indians’ quality of life isn’t the only upshot of Milk Mantra
At a steady revenue growth rate of 35% annually, Milk Mantra manages to upload farmer test results into their cloud database. Over time, they can leverage this data for the benefit of all milk producers. They also plan to go digital, moving away from pen/paper milk diaries.
Misra founded the company in 2009, but Milk Mantra wants to experiment with its own home-delivery service in the coming quarters. They will use an online subscription, further leveraging the fact that rural areas of India now have internet access.