The Covid-19 induced nationwide lockdown in March highlighted issues related to traceability and digitization in the Indian dairy industry as milk supply chains buckled under pressure.
For end to end dairy technology solutions company Stellapps Technology, this meant new business opportunities.
Despite the decline in revenue from one of its core segments, the Bengaluru based company witnessed an increase of about 46% in order value during April-August 2020. The number of farmers using Stellapps farm intervention and fintech solutions also rose from 1.98 million to 2.3 million farmers across 30,000 villages in 18 states, which is 16.6% more than the pre-lockdown period, Stellapps told TechCircle.
Founded in 2011 by five techie friends from information technology major Wipro, Mukundan, Ravishankar G, Shiroor Praveen Nale, Ramakrishna Adukuri, and Venkatesh Seshasayee, Stellapps aims to digitise India’s dairy supply chain.
“We have been lucky that we've benefited from the whole tailwind that we got because of the huge amount of traction. There were downsides too, as the HoReCa (hotels, restaurants, and catering) segment shut down completely during the lockdown," Ranjith Mukundan, CEO and co-founder of Stellapps told TechCircle.
The HoReCa segment alone accounts for the consumption of 30-35% of milk supply, he added.
By mid-April, as the procurement, chilling centres and logistics began to open, Stellapps saw a surge in business activity.
“The pent-up demand in orders was rapidly served and Stellapps fulfilled orders worth Rs 20 crores in just four weeks,” said Mukundan.
Stellapps which works on a B2B2C (business-to-business-to-consumer) or B2B2F (business-to-business-to-farmer) model, addresses the yield, traceability and quality concerns related to milk production in the country.
Its clients are the dairy processors and milk cooperatives such as Nandini, Amul, Heritage and Britannia.
Among Stellapps’ new business lines is development of private dairy brands. StellaApps assists grocery players such as BigBasket and Amazon to brand their dairy lines under private labels.
The company addresses the end to end tracking of the entire milk supply process --right from installing wearables on cattle to online ordering and payments by customers.
According to Mukundan, India produced 187.7 million tonnes of milk but a large quantum of dairy production remains unorganized. Stellapps claims to be digitizing the supply chain of more than 11 million liters of milk daily which is 7% of the total milk flowing into the organized sector.
“This will further increase to 15 million in the coming few months,” Mukundan said.
The company is also building on that resource by partnering up with insurance companies, banks, and NBFCs (non financial banking companies) to help improve productivity, quality, and traceability in the dairy sector.
“With all the data that we get, we can actually use it to underwrite risks better. And in the current situation, people can take up cattle insurance, credit risk, nutrition loans, capital purchase loans to farmers using our data as the fundamental basis,” Mukundan said.
He pointed out that all these offerings were already in the works but Covid catalysed the development by bringing traceability and digitization issues to the fore.
Stellapps focuses on leveraging advanced analytics and artificial intelligence through its full-stack IoT (Internet of Things) platform to enable the dairy ecosystem to partner with financial and insurance institutions, veterinary services, cattle nutrition providers, among others. “A million cattle are already tracked by Stellapps through its IoT platform,” Mukundan claimed.
The company’s IoT platform, SmartMoo, acquires data through sensors that are embedded in animal wearables (mooON device), milk chilling equipment (ConTrak), and milk procurement peripherals (smartAMCU/smartCC).
“These products are focused on improving the supply chain efficiency, preventing adulteration, and enabling traceability,” Mukundan said.
The company is backed by Stride Ventures which invested an undisclosed sum in Stellapps in December 2019.