By – Dikhyaa Mohanty
Srikumar Misra(Milking fortune: Milk Mantra raises $10 million in funding) is a hard-nosed entrepreneur. He has led Milk Mantra, an out-of-the-box dairy start-up, with exemplary success for over a decade. He has demonstrated what it takes to be a resilient enterprise. And, no pandemic can cut short his lofty goals.
The new age dairy foods start-up has raised $10 million (or Rs 80 crore) from US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC).
DFC has also approved $371,000 (Rs 2.8 crore) in technical assistance to increase the impact of its loan to Milk Mantra. The 80-crore investment by the US DFC is the first direct and substantial investment into Odisha.
This investment potentially opens up the opportunity to attract more investment from US DFC into not only Odisha but also other neighbouring states in the east.
With this investment, Milk Mantra has raised nearly Rs 300 crore which has been invested and will continue to be largely invested into Odisha with a strong focus on empowering the local dairy farming community and creating indirect jobs.
The company has been instrumental in building and motivating a start-up ecosystem in Odisha and this new investment from the US will further support their efforts. In the past eight years, Milk Mantra has directly put more than Rs 500 crore into the hands of farmers in Odisha via its ethical milk sourcing program.
Commenting on the funding, Srikumar Misra, founder of Milk Mantra said, “I am excited to bring on board a financial partner like DFC. At Milk Mantra, we align with DFC’s focus on development impact. We have developed an ethical sourcing model that looks to revitalize rural economies, increase farmers’ yields, and provide farmers, their families, and their communities with growth opportunities while we scale up a mass-premium food brand that’s nourishing the lives of consumer families.”
Ajay Rao, Director of DFC’s Social Enterprise Finance Team, who led this transaction, 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. We are excited about our collaboration with Milk Mantra, which will help the company scale up its operations by supporting expanded processing and sourcing capacity.”
Setuka Partners LLP based out of Washington DC, led by Aman Khanna, was the exclusive advisor to this transaction.
As India’s organized milk market is slated to reach $10 billion by 2025, private dairies are expected to play a central role. Over the last 8 years, Milk Mantra has sustainably impacted over 60,000 farmer families, helping them increase productivity by 31 per cent and incomes by 70 per cent.
Founded in 2009, Milk Mantra addresses the problem of trust deficit between consumers and food, arising out of opaque supply chains and adulterated food.
Milk Mantra operates two flagship mass premium brands – Milky Moo and MooShake – under which it produces a range of fresh dairy products, such as pure milk, probiotic dahi, paneer, lassis, buttermilk, sweet curd, desserts and milkshakes.
The company competes with a host of domestic and international dairy giants, such as Amul and Lactalis, among others.