Orissa-based Milk Mantra raises $13M in Series C led by Fidelity Growth Partners

Dairy startup based in Odisha (earlier Orissa) Milk Mantra Dairy Pvt Ltd has raised Rs 80 crore ($13.08 million) in Series C led by Fidelity Growth Partners India with participation of existing social venture investor Aavishkaar, the company said.

The transaction also had a secondary component where all of its 25 angel investors have exited. Moreover, Aavishkaar Venture Management Services has sold stake held by its old fund Aavishkaar India Micro Venture Capital Fund even as its new fund put in more.

Fidelity bought the stake held by Aavishkaar India Micro Venture Capital Fund for Rs 5.6 crore. Aavishkaar India Micro Venture Capital Fund had invested a total of Rs 4 crore during 2009-2011 in various tranches, which provided it with 40 per cent gross return over a five-year investment period.

The break-up of the remaining amount which went to the angel investors and to Milk Mantra could not be ascertained.

Aavishkaar Venture Management Services had separately also invested Rs 10 crore in the dairy firm through another fund Aavishkaar India II, which has put in more money now.

Currently, Aavishkaar Venture and Fidelity India together hold around 70 per cent stake in Milk Mantra and remaining 30 per cent is held by the promoters.

The primary component of the transaction round will help Milk Mantra expand its operations across Eastern India as well as launch functional milkshake across key national markets.

As part of the deal, Fidelity’s Abhinav Sinha will join Milk Mantra’s board of directors, along with Noshir Colah from Aavishkaar.

Founded in 2009 by Srikumar Misra, Milk Mantra sells fresh milk and milk-based products. The company produces a range of dairy products like milk, probiotic dahi, paneer, lassi and buttermilk under the brand 'Milky Moo'. It currently sells its products in Odisha, Kolkata and key markets in Jharkhand.

“Getting a large investor like Fidelity along with the continued support of Aavishkaar endorses Milk Mantra’s growth potential & strategy of focused functional innovation in creating an exciting brand whilst building our ethical sourcing. With this Series C raise, the company is well poised to expand further in its core regions as well as launch our long planned functional milkshake. We are also happy to be able to provide our earlier investors and angels with a strong exit," said Srikumar Misra, CEO & MD of Milk Mantra.

"Milk Mantra has used a unique branding strategy and ethical sourcing programme to develop a dominant position in Eastern India. We look forward to actively supporting the company to achieve many more milestones in its growth path," said Abhinav Sinha, MD of FIL Capital Advisors (India) Pvt Ltd.

For Fidelity this is the first new deal in India in almost a year. Last year it backed CloudByte besides putting more money into existing portfolio firm Yebhi.

Unitus Capital acted as the sole financial advisor to Milk Mantra while Amarchand & Mangaldas, Wadia Ghandy and Universal Legal acted as legal advisors in this deal.

This is the fourth time that Aavishkaar invested in the company along with other investors. Last year in April, the dairy firm secured $1.17 million (around Rs 7 crore) in Series B round of funding from Aavishkaar Venture Management Services Pvt Ltd.

Prior to that in 2011, it raised $5 million and an undisclosed amount in 2009 from Aavishkaar India along with other investors.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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