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How these IIM Indore batchmates built D2C milk & grocery firm Country Delight

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Chakradhar Gade and Nitin Kaushal founded milk and grocery startup Country Delight. The two are batchmates from IIM Indore, who worked in investing and banking respectively before they bootstrapped the business.

The NDDB’s historic Operation Flood may have converted India from a milk-deficient country to the world’s greatest milk producer, but it did not organise the industry or address other associated issues.

According to Chakradhar Gade and Nitin Kaushal, it is still challenging to “get high-quality milk.”

This prompted the team to launch Country Delight, a direct-to-consumer (D2C) milk and grocery delivery service, in 2013.

Country Delight is a first-to-market D2C brand that brings natural food needs straight from the farmer to the consumer’s door. It makes over eight million milk deliveries each month across 15 cities, with a supply network spanning 11 states.

Country Delight received $108 million in Series D fundraising in May 2022, led by Nicholas Cator-backed Venturi Partners and Temasek. It has raised $147 million in total stock capital.

Chakradhar, CEO and Co-founder, and Nitin, COO and Co-Founder, are IIM Indore batchmates who worked in investment and banking before bootstrapping their firm.

They say that India has a highly unorganised sector with unpredictable quality and a highly organised sector with the “essence and naturalness of food completely lost.” This is due to a disjointed logistics network and a lack of insight into product quality throughout the supply chain.

This was Country Delight’s original issue statement, and the founders hoped to find a solution based on user input.

Chakradhar explains , “We started this firm without a dairy experience and with minimal money. We had to work everything out from scratch because we came from a banking background. We began by acquiring 50 cattle and locating a suitable piece of land. We didn’t know how to handle the cattle, and milk output fell as the milk cycle got more irregular.”

He adds, “By the end of 2013, we were producing 200 litres of milk and anticipated we’d reach 5,000 litres in two years, but it ended up taking us six years. At this time, we had depleted 70% of our bootstrapped funds. So it’s been a lengthy learning curve to get to where we are now.”

The team had to work out several things, including how to get milk, correct last-mile deliveries, and cope with customer acquisition expenses.

“However, we were able to overcome these problems by integrating our supply chain with technology and developing scalable possibilities,” adds Chakradhar.

Technology, client input, and research all played important roles in getting us to where we are now.” Country Delight has expanded 10X in scale over the previous three years and now has an ARR of over Rs 900 crore.

Country Delight has risen to become India’s biggest D2C fresh food necessities brand, delivering dairy, fruits, and vegetables to customers’ doorsteps.

Fresh deliveries in 24-36 hours are guaranteed by the company’s business concept, which is assisted by a fully integrated just-in-time supply chain architecture.

“We grew mostly organically. We have established the majority of the categories using a customer-first approach and will continue to do so. We also aim to improve the farming ecology,” adds the founder.

In terms of product, the firm intends to expand and incorporate additional Indian cities. According to Chakradhar, they intend to import their farmer network and to be a one-stop platform for a better living.

He explains, “In terms of product, we intend to extend our product line. We also intend to expand our farmer network. In essence, we aim to be a one-stop shop for wellness and living a better life. We want to create an inclusive business that improves farmers’ lives while solving customer concerns. As a result, our slogan is ‘live better’.”

According to Country Delight, India’s fresh food and basics industry is estimated to exceed $50 billion by 2025. The firm employs 2,000 individuals and has a tech staff of 200 workers. It has almost 7,000 partners in its distribution network.

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