Meet the 12 startups who won the Animal Husbandry Grand Startup Challenge with their innovative solutions

Enabling animal biometrics using IoT, a Robotic Milk Collection Unit, orchestrating the entire supply chain and inserting a dairy farm management tool with a built-in e-commerce platform for rural milk farms — these are just some of the brilliant innovations by 12 startups that won the first Animal Husbandry Startup Grand Challenge, hosted by Startup India and the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD).

While India accounts for 25 percent of the total global milk production, and more importantly, plays a vital role in the country’s socio-economic development, this massive industry faces numerous challenges – from adulteration and the excessive dependence on single-use plastic, to the lack of cold chains at farm level and fewer innovations, among others, thus prompting a need for innovative and commercially-viable solutions.

This led the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, in partnership with Startup India, to host the Animal Husbandry Startup Grand Challenge from September 11 to November 15, 2019.

The challenge was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a national animal disease control programme held at Mathura in September 2019, during which he invited startups across India to find solutions to the following six problem statements that affect the dairy and animal husbandry sector:

  • Value-added products: Facilitating the production of value-added dairy products viz. cheese, smoothies, flavoured milk, custard, yoghurt, and other ethnic Indian products by using innovative techniques for smaller domestic as well as export markets.
  • Single-use plastic alternatives: Using environment-friendly alternatives to replace single-use polythene in the dairy sector.
  • Eliminating milk adulteration: Tackling milk adulteration in the dairy sector.
  • Breed improvement and animal nutrition: Using innovative technologies for quick genetic gain among Indian breeds of cattle and buffalo, and developing new varieties of green fodder and enriched animal feed.
  • E-commerce solutions: Encouraging innovations to provide modern digital infrastructure and advisory services across the country.
  • Product traceability: Using technologies to track the journey of dairy products from farm to fork.
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With over 150 applicants, a rigorous evaluation and selection process was put in place to shortlist 42 top startups. These startups were then given an opportunity to present their ideas over a video conference to an expert panel that included members from the DAHS, led by Shri Giriraj Singh, Hon’ble Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, who chaired the video conference and Atul Chaturvedi, Secretary, DAHD. The video conference was conducted in February 2020, where each selected startup showcased their solution, followed by a round of questions and answers.

The expert panel evaluated each startup on parameters such as business feasibility and sustainability, the stage of the startup, impact and scalability of the solution and technical novelty, among others.

While no startup could present an innovative and commercially viable solution to the problem statement under the ‘Single Use Plastic Alternatives’ category, after the third round of evaluation, two startups for each of the five problem statements were selected to be awarded cash grants worth Rs 10 lakh and Rs 7 lakh and incubation offers by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying. The incubator would be responsible for the physical incubation of these startups for up to three months, fostering mentor relationships, providing lab and testing facilities. The activities of the startups will be tracked for up to nine months after the completion of the programme.

Here’s a look at the winners and their solutions:

Value Added Products

Winner: Krushak Mitra Agro Services Pvt. Ltd.

The business model of this Mumbai-based early-stage startup is based on providing innovative solutions (for collection, storage, processing, transportation), financing, market linkage, quality control, breed management, feed management, and skill development to farmers. They are also working closely with a Farmer Producer Company for the end-to-end development of a scalable model for the production and marketing of Goat milk and its products.

Runner up: Studio Carbon

From texture floors to temperature regulating wall tiles, from incense sticks to bird houses, Dungse by Studio Carbon meaningfully uses the various properties of dung to offer viable alternatives to their plastic/concrete counterparts.

Eliminating Milk Adulteration

Winner: White Gold Technologies

The Mumbai-based startup has developed a Robotic Milk Collection Units that measures and tracks the milk volume, SNF and fat content of the milk that is poured into its collection unit by the individual farmers via respective RFIDs. The unit analyses the milk under eight parameters and if the milk does not meet the requisite standards, it gets flushed out through a rejection channel.

Runner up: Micro Life Innovations

Chennai-based Micro Life Innovations has developed paper strips that can be used to analyse milk adulteration. Their current solution is a milk analysis for common adulterants and somatic cell count. Currently, theirs is a B2B model where dairy companies will be able to deploy the device at their collection points to test the milk.

Product Traceability

Winner: EmmerTech Innovations

This startup has built a mobile application that will enable farmers to connect with the consumer and vice versa. The app provides information about fruits, vegetables, grains and other farm produce like milk and milk products sold in retail stores. Called AgroTrust, this blockchain technology product is aimed at bringing in transparency in pricing and eliminating exploitation of farmers by middlemen.

Runner Up: NebulARC

Delhi-based NebulARC focuses on orchestrating the entire supply chain in the retail, manufacturing and logistics industries via its IoT-enabled, AI-driven cloud-based product, BEO. It is an ensemble of IoT-driven hardware that securely manages assets across their lifecycle — production, in-transit, in-warehouse and in-operations — and closely monitors the environmental parameters such as humidity, shock, vibrations, temperatures etc.

E-commerce solutions

Winner: MooFarms

MoooFarm enhances rural farmers’ access to better technology by inserting a complete dairy farm management tool with a built-in e-commerce platform into their dairy farming process. The tool further drives efficiency, and knowledge building by approaching training and awareness at three levels — the app, last mile connectivity via a Mooo Van, and the Village Level Entrepreneur (VLE).

Runner up: AKM Technologies

Grozip by AKM Technologies is a technology-focused, on-demand local delivery company facilitating B2B and B2C delivery across major Indian cities. It focuses on creating a value proposition for small and medium vendors and customers to solve delivery hassles using technology.

Animal Nutrition

Winner: Krimanshi Technologies

They are the first context-based animal feed manufacturing company in India working on manufacturing low-cost, nutrient-rich cattle feed by the valorisation of agro-wastes. They work on a circular economy model to upcycle, process and re-utilise the agro and food wastes as livestock feeds.

Runner up: Cornext Agri Products

Cornext has pioneered the process of silage making using advanced technology to naturally preserve high quality fodder crops like corn, jowar and sugarcane, which is high in nutrition and helps increase in milk yield. They are credited for introducing their disruptive technology, BALED SILAGE (natural preservation and fortification of green fodder) in India, which addresses fodder shortage.

Breed Improvement

Winner: Adis Technologies

Belgaum-based Adis Technologies facilitates the gathering of animal biometrics with IOT and smart phones. They have developed a robust and comprehensive information system (CMT) that allows traceability.

Runner up: CisGen Biotech Discoveries

Artificial Insemination (AI) plays a crucial role in Indian dairy industry, and breeding programmes, and is practiced using conventional AI guns. However, a major problem faced by field operators is to place the conventional AI gun in the exact position to release semen. To solve this problem, CisGen has developed the Smart Easy AI Gun which will help the operator place the semen in the exact position with the help of a miniature white LED lit camera, making insemination easy.

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