In yet another instance of startups solving India-focussed problems garnering investors’ attention, dairy supply chain startup MilkLane has raised Rs 27 crore in its first institutional round of fundraise. The round was led by Switzerland-headquartered incubator-cum-investment firm Pioneering Ventures, American dairy company Schreiber Foods and some ultra high net-worth families. MilkLane controls the end-to-end dairy supply chain that ensures high quality milk for industrial buyers and consumers. The company is looking to utilise the capital to expand its network of milk collection centres as also strengthen its digital and analytics capabilities in supply chain.
Despite being the largest milk producer in the world, India still lags behind global peers when it comes to collection and distribution of milk, both of which remain largely unorganised. MilkLane is looking to address these challenges by modernizing critical stages of the entire supply chain with the focus on creating high quality, toxin-free milk and at scale.
Having been incubated by Pioneering Ventures in 2015, MilkLane began commercial operations in January 2017. An incubator and accelerator of agriculture and food supply chain ventures in India, Pioneering Ventures helps create and scale companies in the area of supply chain management and export of farm produce.
MilkLane works around a BCO (bulk cooler operators) model, which are collection centres with bulk tanks that can hold up to 2,000 litres of milk. These BCOs help collect and store milk in a strict temperature-controlled environment thereby helping to increase the shelf life and quality of the milk.
“We work with farmers on the complete life cycle of the process providing advisory services on managing and rearing cattle, managing farms and providing them with the right kind of cattle feed to help improve the milk yield and quality,” Gaurav Haran, COO of MilkLane, told ET.
“The BCO model, as against a typical central chilling/cold storage model, helps bring down the time taken for collection of milk to less than 45 minutes,” he added. Centralised chilling models typically take anywhere between 2-3 hours for delivery to centres, MilkLane maintains.
Based out of Kuppam near Andhra Pradesh, the firm currently creates and collects 85,000 litres of milk through its network of over 8,000 farmers spread across Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
In order to improve the milk’s quality and cattle’s yield, MilkLane works with farmers to help them scale their cattle herd size from 2-3 up to 20-25 with services on special care and management for the animals. Working in the B2B space, MilkLane provides high quality milk to Schreiber Foods, which in turn provides the same to its clients.
“A large part of the capital is being used for daily operations as also increase the number of bulk coolers as we look to expand further. We are targeting creation and collection of 400,000 litres of milk in the next two years,” said Akshaya Kamath, director of Pioneering Ventures.
MilkLane is looking to widen its farmer network to 100,000 farmers and 1,000 BCOs in the next 24 months as also tap into dairy companies in India to expand its clientele.