New Delhi, July 26, 2018: It took Sunil Reddy about five years after graduating from Manipal Institute of Technology in 1990 to find his calling. After earning a degree in industrial engineering, Reddy struck out on his own by growing mushrooms. The business sank without a trace. His next stab at entrepreneurship was exporting mangoes to Singapore, which didn’t move the needle either. A business plan to float a textile manufacturing unit remained on paper after Reddy failed to secure funds. A brief stint with the family’s civil construction business didn’t excite him either.
It was then that Reddy’s father-in-law, dairy scientist MS Reddy, suggested he scope out the dairy segment. Consumption was on a rise in post-liberalisation India. Also, India had transformed itself from a milk-deficient to a milk-surplus nation, thanks to the massive success of Operation Flood, started by the National Dairy Development Board in 1970. But, milk production was largely a stranglehold of dairy cooperatives according to forbesindia.com.
“There wasn’t much of activity. There were a few companies, which made me say, why not? It was dominated by cooperatives and people stood in queues to buy milk back then,” says Reddy, 50, in a phone interview to Forbes India.
Back then, cooperatives such as Karnataka Milk Federation, which sells products under the Nandini brand, Aavin Dairy in Tamil Nadu and Vijaya Dairy in Andhra Pradesh were at the top their game in South India.