HUDDLE | bringing together a network of entrepreneurs and mentors

HUDDLE – Coworking with tailor-made mentorship for each start-up

Hello Readers, Today we are interviewing Mr. Sanil Sachar, Founder at Huddle.

Sanil, first of all tell us something about yourself?

I am a 25-year-old national best-selling author, entrepreneur, investor, columnist, movie producer, motivational speaker and leadership coach based in New Delhi. I graduated with the university award with degree in Bachelors of Science in Sport Business Management from Sheffield Hallam University.  Now, I have moved back to India with the aim of propelling the growing industries of arts, sports and grass root level mentoring.

Previously I have worked as a product and revenue strategist with Star Sports on projects like the ICC Cricket World Cup, Indian Super League and Pro Kabaddi League, before leaving my job to pursue his life as an entrepreneur.

With the aim of creating a positive change in sectors of my passion, I also like mentor to startups in the private sector as well as those linked with government initiatives.

How did you come up with this idea of Huddle?

To become an entrepreneur was a decision driven from the need to fulfill gaps in sectors of my passion. With Trusox, the idea to propel the performances of sportspeople through performance enhancement socks and through Huddle it’s all about catering to the areas of business which will enable a venture to optimise their work and efficiency. Huddle is an incubator providing a reason for ventures to make use of the space they are sitting in, to the best of their ability. As an entrepreneur, I constantly learn how help from relevant mentors and industry experts have enabled me to grow. This is the same assistance I look to provide startups.

Brief us about the serivce your provide at Huddle ?

Huddle is a coworking incubator Huddle provides tailor-made mentorship for each start-up, bringing together a network of entrepreneurs and mentors. We currently have 14 mentors on board who have been industry leaders in Microsoft, PepsiCo, Mahindra, Soft Bank Energy, etc.

How did you come up with the name “Huddle” ?

Huddle brings together start-ups and industry leaders, providing intellectual, social and financial capital for each Huddler. The term Huddle originated from this ideology of creating a core ecosystem with every relevant stakeholder.

Tell us about your business model and revenue model ?

Here are the 3 stages on how to Huddle and what will explain the revenue model in the best possible way –

STAGE 1 COWORKING As a Huddler, you start on a coworking plan to explore what suits you best. Continue coworking or venture into one-on-one mentorship in order to move forward towards your goals (stage 2 and 3 apply to you!).

STAGE 2 SYNERGIZE It’s all about finding the perfect fit for you. Meet with relevant Huddle mentors and choose the right mentor for your venture. Build relationships using the extensive Huddle network suited for your ventures growth.

STAGE 3 ACTIVE MENTORSHIP As you’ve found the right mentor, avail the benefits of structured mentorship and extensive incubation services. Basis a mutual agreement, you would then part with a minor advisory equity shared with your mentor and Huddle.

What options do your customers have? And how are you different from them?

Our competitors are extremely strong in their respective areas of interest and we have learnt through admiring their forte’s. However, at Huddle, we have brought together industry leaders, organisations, angel networks and VC’s to commit their time, effort, capital in order to provide to our startups. Our mentors have committed hours on a weekly basis to spend exclusively with our Huddlers and startups that they then go ahead an work even closer with, as one on one mentors. Along with intellectual and social capital, we have raised financial capital and commitment, from organisations like ‘HealthStart’, who will fund up to five startups each year with a minimum and early investment of up to 25 lakhs. The aim of Huddle is to cater every avenue for a venture where they might be second best in orer to make their journey as startups smoother, enabling them to align with their short and long term goals.

How did you acquire your initial customers?

We actively look out for organisations and entrepreneurs whom we feel we’d like to have as part of Huddle. In addition, we get several applications and walk-ins for organisations to be a part of Huddle. For us, it’s more about actively assessing companies and bringing them on board.

What is the source of startup revenue?

The core funding has come from personal investment through our past ventures and work. Huddle consists of five members of the founding team, with four investors. While Ishaan and I funded Huddle through our personal income, we have been funded by two investors, who are based outside the country and we have a chief mentor, who advises our operations. As for the mentor base at Huddle, here are the names we are proud to be associated with and in addition, and more importantly, provide their support to the startups linked to Huddle – Bhaskar Pramanik (Former Chairman – Microsoft, India), B S Shantharaju (Former CEO – Indus Towers), Gautham Mukkavilli (Former India Beverages CEO – PepsiCo), Indrajit Banerjee (Former President & CFO – Ranbaxy Laboratories), Jaspreet Bindra (SVP Digital – Mahindra Group), Manoj Kohli (Executive Chairman – SoftBank Energy), Punita Lal (Former CEO, NourishCo – Pepsi & Tata JV), Rakesh Bhatia (Former CEO, HSBC Indonesia), Ravindra Pisharody (Executive Director, Tata Motors Ltd.) , Sanjiv Sachar (Former Senior Partner – Egon Zehnder), Subinder Khurana (Former VP, Cognizant Technology), Suhail Chander (Corp, & Commercial Head – IndusInd Bank), Vinish Kathuria (Global President – Rank Software) , Vivek Mehra (Former Partner – PWC India).

What was the most challenging part of your journey till now and how did you overcome it ?

The first and foremost challenge faced by anyone, which was one we encountered was educating the customers, i.e. startups and ventures about the value proposition. The best way to overcome this is by showcasing the results from the past. Our mentors and partners have successfully incubated numerous ventures and our overall support provides 360 degree support, thus the education to ventures comes best through personal interaction.

How did you meet your team(co-founders) and what is their background?

Ishaan Khosla and I have been the closest of friends since our early dysin school. Having played in the same football team since junior school to venturing into startups in separate sectors, our ambitions have always been to cater need based services to our stakeholders. Ishaan’s Profile – Ishaan Khosla is a co-founder of Huddle with a focus on leveraging industry experience and network support to help grow and scale ventures. Through his career, Ishaan has worked in a variety of industries and setups – corporate, private business, start-up, all of which have enabled him to strategize and work towards solutions through a multi-lens view. Ishaan holds a Bachelor of Science in Commerce from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. He started his career on the strategy front at The Boston Consulting Group, and went on to work at comScore, Inc., a leading data analytics and market research firm based out of Washington, DC. At comScore, he was a member of the Partnership Management team that was involved in overlooking strategic tie-ups with Google and Yahoo!, whilst also managing corporate communications for one of their mobile-first business initiatives. Post this, Ishaan switched to a business development role at Stalwart, a renowned and established export house in India. His efforts are aimed at managing the product development team and partnering with new private label companies globally to grow the company’s client base whilst managing existing accounts. Ishaan’s started his journey as an entrepreneur during his college days when he co-founded the first online boutique for women’s shoes and accessories in India. An active member of the Mumbai Angels network, he is well vested in the start-up community and looks forward to adding value to the ecosystem with Huddle.

Where do you want to see your startup in the next 3 year?

Huddle is a launch pad for early startups and a propeller for companies who are on their way to growth. Over the years we see Huddle opening sector specific Huddle spaces in order to channelise our efforts in set industries. We will continue to cater to any gap faced by a startup through our growing network and will enable Huddlers to utilise this network from any part of the world.

What do you look for in a candidate who aspires to join your company?

The passion to stick through the hard times in order to reach their growing goals.

What are your strategies to build awesome work culture in your company?

One on one support to provide real time and contextual support to startups enables Huddle to provide a stimulating culture.

What do you wish someone had told you when you were 15?

The moment of transition when growth takes place is not the moment of nothingness. Be patient and trust your progress.

Any suggestion/quote that you would like to share with budding entrepreneurs?

What would you do, if you knew you could not fail?

Thank You Kanika for you time and input. Wish you a great success with your startup!

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