Gurugram-based startup incubator Huddle has secured $300,000 from leading industry experts and investors from the San Francisco Bay Area and Singapore. The co-founders plan to utilise the funds to expand its mentor network outside India and provide incubation at a global level.
Launched in November 2017, Huddle provides startups access to dedicated mentors and claims to have a pool of over 25 experts based around the world. The funding has been raised to expand Huddle’s unique model of pairing each startup with a dedicated industry expert as their Huddle mentor. The platform’s pool of mentors ranges from CXOs of giants such as Microsoft, PepsiCo, Soft Bank Energy, and more.
Huddle mentor and former president and CFO, Ranbaxy, Indrajit Banerjee, identifies the platform as a unique hotspot for startups. “Huddle is a one-stop solution for startups, bringing together the best-in-class facilities, huddling together.”
Since inception around five months ago, Huddle has expanded its mentor and startup base rapidly from Delhi-NCR to other cities across India. The platform has extended financial, social, and intellectual capital to startups across multiple industry verticals. including health sector, foodtech, and financial services among others.
In the month of March itself, Huddle claims to be in the final stages of taking four startups under its umbrella. With the additional funding in place, Huddle is eyeing robust expansion and looking to significantly increase the number of startups it incubates.
Open to collaboration
Huddle’s Co-founder Sanil Sachar said, “There are startups growing in every location within our country and Huddle wants to service as many as it can. We are in active talks with and are open to collaborate with relevant co-working partners who can integrate Huddle as a Service in order to support entrepreneurs. We will continue to support the startup ecosystem with our 1:1 model of one relevant, dedicated mentor per startup.”
Besides being a co-working space inspired by Google’s futuristic workspace in Bay Area and offering access to tailor-made mentorship programmes, Huddle also provides startups with necessary operational support so that they can focus on their business and not the legwork. This includes legal, accounting, travel, banking, marketing, and other operations to help them work seamlessly.
Mentorship is sets Huddle apart, providing them an edge over any other enabler in the ecosystem. Each startup is connected to a relevant mentor who comes on board to guide the venture forward and propel them. Conceptualised by active angel investors and serial entrepreneurs Sanil Sachar and Ishaan Khosla, Huddle acts as an enabler to fuel the growth of startups by providing them necessary support, including funding opportunities. With the right partnerships and access to its world-wide network, Huddle connects the startup to the correct partner that understands and adds value to the business with a long-term relationship in mind.
Selected startups occasionally get a chance to pitch their ideas to prospective investors during pitching sessions Huddle calls ‘High Pitch’ events.
Huddle also conducts what are known as ‘Reverse Pitch’ meetings where investors come hunting for investment opportunities. Their close associations with funds and angel networks allow both sides to benefit from vetted deals that have a higher success rate. Their association with the NASSCOM Product Council enables everyone who is a part of this network to meet for monthly breakfast sessions to innovate and execute.
“We are looking to build an ecosystem of enablers that can help startups increase their probability of success. For a startup, the right platform to kick-start their venture is key to their long-term progress. With our tailor-made mentorship programmes, investment avenues, business support, and networking opportunities, our startups have access to the right set of ingredients to nurture their entrepreneurial endeavors,” Ishaan said.