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Mondelez India Shortlists Five Start-Ups To Join The First Edition Of CoLab In India

The program was rolled out in collaboration with Huddle in February 2023 to nurture the entrepreneurial pool within the snacking category

Mondelez India Shortlists Five Start-Ups To Join The First Edition Of CoLab In India

Outlook Start-Up Desk

POSTED ON August 02, 2023 2:42 AM

Mondelez International's accelerator program CoLab in collaboration with Huddle, has shortlisted five start-ups in the snacking industry in India. 

Launched in February 2023, CoLab India aims to foster innovation, support emerging businesses, and ultimately deliver innovative, wholesome snacking options that cater to evolving consumer preferences.

Through the program, Mondelez and Huddle intend to cultivate the growing entrepreneurial pool in India to drive growth, and innovation and lead the future of snacking in the country. 

The final cohort comprising Flyberry, TruVitals, Evolve Snacks, Happy Jars, and Nova Nova represents a diverse group of snacking brands with varied formats and omnichannel plans. These start-ups were selected from over 250 applications spanning across categories like baked snacks, chocolates, confectionary and savoury snacks from all over India. 

Specialising in natural, date-based products, Flyberry is known for its offerings, such as natural date syrup and date powder. Committed to providing healthier alternatives for kids' snacks, TruVitals crafts nutrient-dense bites using scientifically proven ingredients, ensuring unparalleled nutrient density. 

Evolve Snacks promotes healthy eating habits with convenient subscription plans by substituting carbohydrates with protein and healthy fat components. Happy Jars stands out with its range of healthy nut butters made from natural peanuts.  

Nova Nova (formerly Waffle House) started as a quick-service restaurant (QSR) outlet specialising in waffles. However, the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a swift transition to the D2C online space, introducing a unique product line called Waffle Cookies.  

The shortlisted start-ups will now go through the 12-week curriculum consisting of weekly virtual sessions and in-person interactions with mentors across Mondelez India and industry experts. This will be followed by a final showcase event wherein the selected five start-ups will get the opportunity to pitch and raise capital from Huddle and other potential investors. 

The accelerator program is set to bring more than 35 industry leaders from India and abroad as mentors for the shortlisted start-ups who will delve into relevant business themes like product manufacturing, packaging, designing, corporate governance, logistics, etc.

The list of mentors, includes leadership from Mondelez India consisting of Nitin Saini, Vice President – Marketing; Varinder Jaswal, Senior Director R&D (chocolate); Sonali Mitra, Director, Strategy; Tejas Mehta, VP, Finance; Sree Patel, Executive Director & Chief Counsel and Desmond D'souza – Senior Director – Sales, amongst others like Vishesh Khurana (Shiprocket), OmPrakash Muppirala (Fountain India), Anand Shankar (Sharrp Ventures), Ashwin Bhadri (Equinox), Ankita Balotia (Fireside Ventures), and more., in addition to leadership from Huddle. 

Sonali Mitra, Director of Strategy, Mondelez India, said, "Each of these remarkable start-ups epitomises the essence of innovation and holds the potential to reshape the trajectory of the snacking industry in India. The disruptively delicious offerings across each of the chosen five are underpinned by the customer-centric innovation approach, scalable business propositions, and inspiring journey so far by the respective founders. Working with them as part of the CoLab program is going to move the needle on their brands, support our innovation agenda, and ultimately help deliver on consumers' desire for the right snacks, for the right moment, made the right way." 

Sanil Sachar, founding partner of Huddle, said, "There's a playbook that has worked for several brands that have become household names, and with CoLab India, our objective as avid backers in building early-stage brands, the endeavour is to assist the selected cohort in learning and growing from this playbook. A shared learning across categories has always driven our approach. With our start-ups here, we aim to get them to cater to a larger audience available across the diverse consumer sets they are targeting. Most importantly, with CoLab India, we aim to bring together the key stakeholders to ensure this ecosystem builds continuously and sustainably. 

Huddle is a pre-seed and seed-stage venture capital firm in India, and its existing portfolio includes 25 companies, including the likes of Blue Tokai, Bold Care, Celcius Logistics, GOAT Brand Labs, Grip Invest, Perfora and RACEnergy. 

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