Local Startup Milk Mantra Receives $10 Million Funding

An Odisha based new-age dairy food start-up, Milk Mantra, has received $10 million (over Rs 76 crore) for structured debt financing from US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). The corporation has also approved 3,71,000 USD (about Rs 2.8 crore) as technical assistance to support the company’s agriculture extension services and ethical milk sourcing programme.

“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”, said Ajay Rao, Director of DFC’s Social Enterprise Finance Team.

The company aims to roll out digital financial services for its team of farmers. “The platform will drive financial inclusion of farmers, especially women farmers,” said a statement from the company.

Founded in 2009, Milk Mantra was set up to solve the problem of trust deficit between consumers and food in the large $50 billion dairy industry in India. Since then, it has grown to establish an expansive network consisting of over 60,000 farmers. Currently, they operate in Odisha, West Bengal, and Jharkhand.

The startup has previously raised around USD 25 million in venture capital funding from investors like Eight Roads (previously Fidelity Growth Partners), Neev Fund, and Aavishkar VC.

“At Milk Mantra, we align with DFC 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”, said Srikumar Misra, the founder of Milk Mantra.