ABB Technology Ventures invests in Indian food industry startup

Strategic collaboration with ABB will streamline the dairy supply chain and drive operational efficiency for ABB’s food & beverage customers

ABB has invested in Stellapps Technologies through its venture capital unit, ABB Technology Ventures (ATV). The Series B investment round was led by IndusAge Partners and included new investors Qualcomm Ventures and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (through its program-related investment team in London). Stellapps is India’s first end-to-end dairy supply chain solutions company, in use by over 750,000 farmers daily. Founded in 2011, the Bangalore-based startup 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 centers 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.

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 but through the Stellapps platform, 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.

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 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. ABB Technology Ventures currently has over 20 active portfolio companies and has invested nearly $200 million into startups spanning a range of sectors including robotics, drones, industrial IoT, AI/machine learning, cybersecurity, and grid automation.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader in electrification products, robotics and motion, industrial automation and power grids, serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally. Continuing a history of innovation spanning more than 130 years, ABB today is writing the future of industrial digitalization with two clear value propositions: bringing electricity from any power plant to any plug and automating industries from natural resources to finished products. As title partner of Formula E, the fully electric international FIA motorsport class, ABB is pushing the boundaries of e-mobility to contribute to a sustainable future. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 135,000 employees. www.abb.com

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