Bhubaneswar-based dairytech startup Milk Mantra has raised $10 Mn in loan from US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). It has also approved $371K (INR 2.8 Cr) in technical assistance to support the Milk Mantra’s agriculture extension services and ethical milk sourcing program.
The main focus of this would be to build out Milk Mantra’s digital financial services platform for its network of farmers. This platform will drive financial inclusion for farmers, especially women farmers.
Founded in 2009 by Srikumar Misra and Rashima Misra, Milk Mantra began operations in 2012. It tries to solve the problem of trust deficit between consumers and food. It solves this problem in two ways – by building a premium and innovative food brand and scalable business and by creating an ethical sourcing network at scale.
Srikumar Misra, founder, Milk Mantra said, “Startups that are able to reach a stage of sustainable cash flow and EBITDA will have the ability to access not just equity funding, but also different layers of debt funding.”
The company says its revenue has scaled to $32 Mn in 2020, reaching more than 300K households every day, with over 60K farmers. It has previously raised $25 Mn from over four rounds from blue-chip investors like Eight Roads (previously Fidelity Growth Partners), Neev Fund (SBI Caps and the UK DFID), and Aavishkar VC.
The company claims that it has sustainably impacted over 60K farmer families, helping them increase productivity by 31%, and incomes by 70%. As per reports, there are nearly 100 Mn dairy farmers in India with a significant proportion being women.
Ajay Rao, Director of DFC’s Social Enterprise Finance Team, said, “We have been very impressed by the Milk Mantra team and its efforts to build a socially responsible business that empowers smallholder farmers while strengthening food security.”
As India’s organised milk market is slated to reach $10 Bn by 2025, private dairies are expected to play a central role.
According to DataLabs by Inc42, the agritech sector recorded total funding of $244.59 Mn in 2019, an increase of over 350% in the amount of funding in the agritech sector from the previous year. With farming touted to be a $400 Bn industry in India, the market is big enough for startups in both the organised and unorganised segments to sustain and build scalable models.