It was the time when Srikumar Misra had returned to India from London in 2010 to build its dream milk company, it was about as far from Silicon Valley as an ambitious entrepreneur could get.
Being Tech savvy person he was having tremendous knowledge of social media, smartphone apps and big-data analytics,, Mr. Misra’s dairy business is among many new businesses utilizing the entry of the internet in rural areas in India.
Innovation is going up against one of India’s greatest financial challenges and economic liabilities: modernizing the nation’s huge informal economy. Tech is particularly being put under a magnifying glass by a tangle of a huge number of independent laborers, small farmers and tiny companies that make up the lumbering agriculture and food processing sector.
Mr. Misra, a former employee with Tata Group, one of India’s largest corporate houses, zeroed in on the huge but underdeveloped dairy sector, which is extremely fragmented.
India brags the world’s largest dairy herd-some 300 million buffalo and cows that produce 165 million metric tons of milk annually.However the normal farmer in india have only two to three cattle’s, most live on one-family farms on tiny plots that lacks basi infrastructure like roads and electricity In the U.S., the second largest dairy producer globally has nearly 150 cows.
Milk in India is conveyed through a large number of little retail outlets, roadside slows down and home delivery men known as milk man or other chaiwala’s who offer it in smooth masala tea, heated into desserts or basically as raw milk. No sprawling U.S.- style staple chains work together in India.
Amongst dairy animals and customer, milk quality has been consistently deteriorating. Due to middlemen in India regularly sneak water, sugar or powdered milk into raw milk, to increase the volume and bringing down the quality. The milk that independent middlemen collect from farmers and deliver to towns and villages is often unpasteurized milk and not properly preserved and refrigerated.
That is the reason all Indians heat up their milk which is the place Mr. Misra saw a huge potential and gap in the dairy industry.
“There was a huge problem with food products that people could trust. The opportunity was addressing this trust deficit,” he said.
Mr. Misra and his wife, Rashima, a marketing executive who became a partner in the business, envisioned a brand with a snappy slogan that would define a premium milk product. They settled on Milky Moo. Motto: “No need to boil.”
They trusted India’s developing working class would spend more on a high quality healthy products.
Before that, their organization, Milk Mantra, required a production line and a supply arrangements, both of which required capital. Mr. Misra tapped an emerging source of funds for Indian agricultural startups, venture capital, which was no easy task back in 2009.
Financial speculators have been progressively dynamic in India, however as of not long ago almost every one of them have been hoping to put resources into Silicon Valley-like dot coms.
Odisha state, the core of Mr. Misra’s proposed new target market, is one of India’s least-developed regions, far off the radar screen even of investors based in the nation.
It took Mr. Misra two years to persuade a gathering of 21 investors from England and India to set up $1.5 million, arrive an extra $1 million from a funding firm, and $2 million acquired from an Indian bank to back Milk Mantra.
A funding arm of Fidelity, now known as Eight Roads Investment Advisors, was among other later venture capitalists, putting in $8 million.
Milk Mantra pays agriculturists more for milk than the middlemen or informal collectors, and gives farmers something those collectors never did: a small blue dairy diaryhas been given to milk producers where the quantity and quality of the milk is recorded for them after they have their twice-daily milk collection tested for milk fat levels and contaminants at each village collection points.
The data advises milk producers what their milk is worth. Milk Mantra additionally gives veterinary help and data about feed to farmers. Raw milk from town agriculturists is trucked to local gathering focuses, at that point on to a production line where it is sanitized and homogenized.
The startup went up against the biggest provider of milk in the locale a politically powerful cooperative controlled by the state of Odisha-which responded to competition by improving its own operations and introducing premium products.
The hardest test, says Mr. Misra, is changing longstanding buyer propensities and dispositions, to persuade them to change the way they purchase and consume milk, regardless of whether it costs more.
His significant other discovered new clients on Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter and drew in them with dairy enigmas, formulas and milk jokes “Have a Moo’velous extraordinary week ahead! #MondayMotivation.
The company invited target audiences to milk-tasting events geared toward children. They started taking orders online, and delivered direct to homes for the first year.
Milk Mantra likewise presented items, for example, enhanced milks, probiotic yogurts and paneer, a sort of Indian curds.
In a hard working-class neighborhood of Bhubaneswar, about eight hours south of Kolkata in eastern part of India, the young family of Deeptiranjan Sahoo, 40 years old, and Snehajali Sahoo, 32 years old, drinks milk differently now because of Milk Mantra.
The remote town of Odapainga, around a hour’s drive outside of Bhubaneswar, is receiving a portion of the reward from those additional rupees the Sahoo family spends on Milky Moo milk.
Before Milk Mantra, Saketa Bhusav Dash lived and worked in another city about twelve hours drive from his home in Odapainga to supplement the pay from his family’s town general store, which his better half, Bandita Dash, oversees. Presently the 37-year-old gains that salary by sorting out the gathering and testing of 500 liters per day of milk from around 50 nearby milk producers as Milk Mantra’s representatives.
On an ongoing morning, a portion of those agriculturists assembled at the little accumulation stall and testing point, talking and tattling while they held up in line. They poured raw milk from metal canisters into an extensive accumulation container. A Milk Mantra specialist took a little example from each to test for milk fat levels, solids and contaminants.
Mr. Dash and Milk Mantra have veterinarians who work with a significant number of the agriculturists to enhance the eating routine and wellbeing of their cattles. Some milk producers have used their record of consistently high-quality production to qualify for loans from banks that Milk Mantra partners with, enabling them to purchase more cows and buffalo.
“We understand the estimation of our cattles,” said Hare Krishna, a 53-year-old small farmers who presently has a small dairy of four cows.
Milk Mantra has expanded relatively quickly and revenues have grown steadily at about 35% year on year. Sales reached 1.8 billion rupees ($27 million) this fiscal year, while producing an average of 120,000 liters of milk daily. The company has 340 employees, with almost 900 other workers on contractual basis.
Milk Mantra is continuously trying different innovative activities experimenting with a home-delivery service-this time with an online subscription plan for customers who want regular deliveries of its dairy products.