To celebrate Women’s History Month, we are thrilled to present an interview series showcasing the incredible accomplishments of women within the Rockstart ecosystem. These founders took their startup from idea to market, breaking barriers every step of the way. Join us as we highlight their stories, challenges, and successes — from their point of view.
Aashna Singh is one of the founders behind India’s wildly successful ‘Dairy as a Service’ (DaaS) platform, Mooofarm. Since launching her startup with co-founders Param Singh and Jitesh Arora, Mooofarm has been a hot topic, joining the Rockstart Agrifood portfolio in 2020 and netting the founders a spot on Forbes Asia 30 under 30 in 2021, amongst countless other achievements. In 2022, Aashna and her team brought Mooofarm to the next level in a series A round, earning $13m to empower dairy farmers across more regions in India.
A powerful force in the AgriFood sector, here’s Aashna Singh in her own words:
What first got you into entrepreneurship?
I have always been eager to create an impact through my work that is valued. To me, entrepreneurship is not a one-person act. Rather it has to do with the creation of an ecosystem of value that can thrive from the contribution of every individual to tap the endless opportunities out in the world, especially in India. And so I believe, the sooner one begins this journey the greater the possibilities.
Was it harder for you as a female founder?
The agricultural industry in India is majorly male-dominated and mostly older. So while for some females the road could seem tough and long, for me it hasn’t been that difficult per se. But initially, it was rather difficult to be taken seriously because of my gender and age.
In the US, the funding for female founders (1.9% in 2022 vs. 2.4% in 2021) went down last year. The same decline is apparent in Europe, from 3% to 1% for female teams. What do you think needs to changed?
We could certainly do better to achieve parity in the future, there is always scope for improvement. But first things first, we need more women founders and more women employees in key strategic roles. In a country like India, this would call for a major societal shift. It may seem impossible but with steady awareness and support from families, government, institutions, and other stakeholders, we can create a more secure and conducive environment for women to thrive globally.
Tell us more about your company. How did you and your co-founder come up with the idea?
The Mooofarm team is driven by passionate and competent founders who started their journey by working with rural women first. With an award-winning technology platform, we gradually grew into an established business offering ‘Dairy As A Service’ (DASS), with women dairy farmers at the center. As India is recognized to be the largest producer of milk in the world, contributing 23% of global milk production, we gathered that it is actually the women in our country who work extensively on cattle rearing and care. In this, we see a huge opportunity to disrupt the sector such that it truly creates an impact on the women, farmers, and youth of the country.
Mooofarm was founded in 2019. How have your objectives and goals changed since then?
Our mission has always been the same and never changed. Our focus has been on increasing our farmers’ profitability – we are a profit-with-purpose company. With time we certainly intend to continue creating impact through more evolved strategies and leverage technology to enable us to scale faster and continue offering holistic solutions for the welfare of our farmer community.
What is your long-term vision for Mooofarm?
Our vision is all-encompassing, such that it entails increased profitability for our farmers by offering ‘Dairy As A Service’ (DAAS). This involves enabling farmers to independently operate and manage their entire dairy systems through MoooFarm and improve their earnings.
What was/is your experience with Rockstart? How did its ecosystem support you along the way?
We had a truly great experience with Rockstart. We were a part of the accelerator when we were still detailing our strategy and market approach. The support in terms of guidance and engagement from our mentors really helped us at every step of the process along with the timely capital inputs to function smoothly.
What are your plans for international expansion? Which markets are most important for MoooFarm and why?
In the medium term, our focus will be entirely on India. With 80 million farmers, India presents a huge market opportunity. As we grow in the long term, we can replicate our technology for cattle assessment and facial recognition in other developing countries such as Kenya, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Tanzania, Columbia, etc.
In your opinion, what is the future of AgriFood? What are your predictions for AgriFood in the next 5-10 years?
The AgriFood market is the most attractive in the Indian startup ecosystem. There is a rising wave of investors and disruptive startups with innovative technologies and resilient systems across this and allied sectors. The common sentiment is to find optimal solutions that reduce negative impact on our environment while catering to the growing global demand for smart yet healthy food options.
What advice would you give to women founders looking to scale their startups and raise their first rounds?
We should focus on removing the blurs that categorize founders into men or women. There should not be a special category called women founders. Rather, we should look at everyone as leaders focused on their mission to build solid, sustainable, and valued businesses. The key to success is perseverance …so never give up.
Stay tuned for more insights and interviews from trailblazing women within the startup world.