4 Thoughts on Huddle Accelerator’s India Early-stage Startup Ecosystem
Huddle is a Gurugram-based accelerator that invests in pre-seed to pre-Series A startups in sectors including mobility, food, consumer goods, creator economy, healthcare and climate tech . In the four years since its inception, Huddle has made 52 investments, 18 of which closed in 2021. And, last October, Huddle created a $6.7 million accelerator fund to support startups in 2022.
In an interview with KASIASanil Sachar, founding partner of Huddle, explained how he detects consumer trends early on and supports founders creating solutions for the consumers of 2025.
The following interview has been edited and consolidated for brevity and clarity.
KrASIA (Kr): What type of start-ups do you support?
Sanil Sachar (SS): We support companies that disrupt or help traditional sectors. We believe themes such as circular economy, climate technology, D2C enablers, working from home, alternative nutrition and the metaverse will become mainstream between 2025 and 2030. Therefore, we work with startups that facilitate the journey consumers who will have stronger purchases. power by 2025.
For example, in the area of mobility, we look at electric vehicles and drone technology companies. In food, we are looking for healthier brands for consumers. India is one of the most diabetic countries in the world. In 2018, we began serving diabetic consumers on a keto diet through a company called Ketofy. We then realized that the same audience suffered from chronic illnesses such as sexual wellness issues. That’s why we support the Bold Care men’s health platform.
We start very early to follow the solutions in all sectors. Even before identifying the founders, we have the infrastructure ready for the solutions of the future. We create contextual operational support for our companies to help them with product development, distribution and branding. The capital we co-invest complements everything.
Kr: How has the startup startup ecosystem evolved since the pandemic began?
SS: The pedigree of the founders who are beginning to emerge has improved considerably. Many early team members of successful startups learn, grow, and develop an appetite for risk. Then they start their own businesses. They know where the problem is and when to start working on the problem. So there are founders who think about problems before they become a need.
Founders who have survived the pandemic have realized the value of being nimble and having multiple revenue channels. They have become good mentors. We’re going to see more new founders coming in and partnering with first-time founders in 2022.
Many great founders also invest in companies, which means there’s a lot of mentorship.
Kr: Are there any interesting trends in the startup startup ecosystem that stand out?
SS: We started to see micro-solutions. For example, in the electric vehicle sector, battery management software solutions are emerging as the number of battery swapping stations in the country increases. There are also companies that create electrification kits for vehicles.
Similarly, in e-commerce, our portfolio company NeuroPixel is using an AI-powered solution to solve the cataloging problem for online fashion retailers, reducing the time it takes to list clothes online. Instead of 30 to 45 days, it only takes two to three days. The Smytten Product Testing Platform offers free product samples to consumers to enable sales.
There will be more and more solutions like these, which target specific and niche problems, but their market size is large. D2C is going to be a major theme for micro-solutions.
Cr: What areas are you passionate about in 2022?
SS: We look at D2C brand enablement and the creator economy. We also want to create solutions in the consumer sector using drone technology.
Climate technology is another important area. In addition to electric vehicles and agrotech companies, we want to support solutions that deal with air and water management. Huddle will partner with other venture capital firms and companies to launch an accelerator program specifically for climate tech startups. We have done this for electric vehicles and D2C brands.
Also, as an investor in the game, we follow the metaverse. There will be more companies building virtual worlds and the assets that integrate with them.