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14/06/2018 – News / Dairy / IoT / ABB / Stellapps Technologies / India

ABB invests in startup to streamline supply chain of India’s $70bn dairy sector

ABB Technology Ventures (ATV) – ABB’s venture capital unit – has announced it has invested in Stellapps Technologies, India’s first end-to-end dairy supply chain solutions company.


The Series B investment round was led by IndusAge Partners and included new investors Qualcomm Ventures and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (through its programme-related investment team in London).


Founded in 2011, the Bangalore-based startup – in use by over 750,000 farmers daily – is building automated tools leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) and advanced analytics to improve milk production and quality for the country's dairy farms, collection centres and processors. This is ATV’s first investment in India.


The cornerstone of the Stellapps solution is SmartMoo – a full-featured analytics solution covering the entire value chain from milk production to farmer payments. SmartMoo can track an animal’s health and yield through a wearable sensor, measuring parameters such as milk quantity and yield, and monitor conditions under which the milk is stored, transported and distributed.


Efficiency gains for one of the world’s largest dairy markets


India’s $70-billion dairy market is one of the largest in the world by volume and the Stellapps effort is significant because it touches so many actors in the supply chain, including the broad base of rural dairy farmers. Most of these lower-volume farmers have previously lacked actionable data to improve their operations. However, through the Stellapps platform – which is free for their use – data regarding the quality and quantity of milk, the history of production by each farmer and the fees owed to them enables immediate feedback and peer learning opportunities to improve productivity and boost income. Other needs in the Indian dairy industry such as improved inventory management, reducing deterioration of perishable food items, elimination of waiting times outside processing plants and better service delivery are also being addressed by the Stellapps platform. 


Adding value for Indian farmers


In addition to the equity investment, Stellapps has separately initiated a strategic collaboration with ABB to create a digital offering for Indian customers to address these operational challenges. ABB said that it is “highly supportive” of the work Stellapps is doing to responsibly add value to farmers large and small through education on animal care related to milk production.


“Since meeting Stellapps, we’ve been impressed with their category-defining software and the large market opportunity ahead of them,” said Grant Allen, Managing Director at ABB Technology Ventures. “We believe their technology will have a major impact on India's thriving dairy economy – especially the many dairy farmers running smaller, home-based operations. We’ve also worked closely with our control technologies business to complement ABB’s existing offerings, notably our manufacturing execution system (MES) business, part of the ABB Ability™ Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) offering. Cementing a partnership with Stellapps by becoming an equity investor enables ABB to go to market in India with a cloud-connected, IoT-led, digital dairy solution.”


Stellapps CEO Ranjith Mukundan said: “Stellapps is entering a stage of accelerating growth, and this strategic group of investment partners will be very valuable to scale our technology platform. We are excited to partner with ABB Technology Ventures and tap into ABB’s expertise and global reach for industrial automation solutions, particularly for food & beverage.”


ABB Technology Ventures, established by ABB in 2009, expanded its operations to India in 2016 with the objective of identifying and investing in game-changing technologies. The ABB subsidiary currently has over 20 active portfolio companies and has invested nearly US$200 million into startups spanning a range of sectors including robotics, drones, industrial IoT, AI/machine learning, cybersecurity, and grid automation.

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