Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's first equity investment in India will help Stellapps scale up efforts to improve dairy farmer income through its IoT-led automation platform across the milk value chain.
Bengaluru-based startup Stellapps, which provides technology solutions for dairy farming, has raised $14 million in in a Series B round of funding.
Led by IndusAge Partners, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Qualcomm Ventures, and ABB Technology Ventures, the round also saw participation from existing investors Omnivore, Blume Ventures, Venture Highway, and BEENEXT.
This is the first equity investment by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in India, and is done through its programme-related investment (PRI) team in London. The foundation works closely with the entire agriculture value chain to improve productivity and incomes of farmers.
A press release from Stellapps says the new capital will scale up their efforts to improve dairy farmer income through its Internet of Things (IoT)-led automation platform across the milk value chain.
Launched in 2011 at IIT Madras’ Rural Technology Business Incubator (RTBI), Stellapps focuses on automation, data acquisition and machine learning. They serve dairy farms, cooperatives, and private dairies, by optimising the entire dairy supply chain, including milk production, procurement, and cold chain logistics.
Stellapps received seed funding from Omnivore, an agri-tech focused venture fund, in 2013. In 2017, the company raised a Series A round from Blume Ventures, Venture Highway, Binny Bansal, and 500 Startups.
In the press release, Stellapps CEO Ranjith Mukundan said, “Stellapps is on a mission to digitise the dairy value chain and drive efficiencies for farmers and milk processors in the Indian dairy market. The company is entering a stage of accelerating growth, and this strategic group of investment partners will add tremendous value as we scale our technology platform to support more than 10 million litres of milk per day.”
Often, dairy farmers end up working for more than eight hours a day and still remain non-profitable. Stellapps claims that they have been able to reduce input costs by automating milking procedures and making things less dependent on external labour.
About the latest investment, Sudhir Rao, Managing Partner of IndusAge Partners, said, “Organised milk in India is a $70 billion industry growing at 23 percent annually, with a homogenous business value chain that benefits virtually every farming household in the country. We are truly impressed with the Stellapps team that is already deploying a scalable IoT-led platform reaching over 750,000 smallholder farmers on a daily basis.”