Mondelez India's first accelerator programme CoLab shortlists five startups

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

Mondelez India's first accelerator programme CoLab shortlists five startups

Tuesday August 01, 2023,

4 min Read

Mondelez International accelerator programme CoLab, in partnership with Huddle, shortlisted five startups from a pool of over 250 applications across categories, including bakery snacking, chocolate, confectionery, and savoury snacking, from across India.

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

Launched in February 2023, the programme reiterates Mondelez's commitment to driving innovation, supporting startups and ultimately delivering innovative, healthy snack options to meet changing consumer preferences.

The final cohort—consisting of Flyberry, TruVitals, Evolve Snacks, Happy Jars, and Nova Nova—represents a diverse group of snacking brands with a variety of formats, a well-being proposition, commercial excellence, and solid omnichannel plans. 

These startups will go through a 12-week curriculum consisting of weekly virtual sessions and face-to-face interactions with industry experts and mentors from across Mondelez India.

This will be followed by a final showcase event, where selected startups can pitch their business and raise capital from Huddle and other potential investors, moving forward to the next stage of growth.

“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. Our approach has always been driven by shared learning across categories, and with our startups, we aim to get them to cater to a larger audience available across the diverse consumer sets they are targeting," said Sanil Sachar, Founding Partner, Huddle.

"With CoLab India, our goal is to bring together the key stakeholders to ensure this ecosystem builds in a continuous and sustainable manner," he added.

Over 35 industry leaders from India and overseas are expected to mentor selected ventures on relevant business issues, including product manufacture, packaging, design, management, and logistics, among others.

They include leadership from Mondelez India, consisting of Nitin Saini, VP of Marketing; Varinder Jaswal, Senior Director R&D (chocolate); Sonali Mitra, Director, Strategy; Tejas Mehta, VP of Finance; Sree Patel, Executive Director and Chief Counsel, and Desmond D’souza, Senior Director-Sales.

Other mentors are Vishesh Khurana (Shiprocket), OmPrakash Muppirala (Fountain India), Anand Shankar (Sharrp Ventures), Ashwin Bhadri (Equinox), Ankita Balotia (Fireside Ventures), and more, besides Huddle leadership.

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“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," said Sonali Mitra, Director of Strategy, Mondelez India.

"Working with them as part of the CoLab programme is going to move the needle on their brands, support our innovation agenda, and ultimately, help deliver on consumers’ desire for right snacks, for the right moment, made the right way,” she added.

Here are the five startups that made the cut:

Flyberry: Flyberry offers healthy and nutrient-rich dried fruits, exotic berries, edible nuts, trail mixes, vacuum-fried vegetable chips, and other healthy snacks. It specialises in 100% natural, clean date-based products, including natural date syrup and powder.

TruVitals: TruVitals, a healthier alternative for kids' snacks, offers nutri-dense bites using scientifically proven ingredients, ensuring unparalleled nutrient density.

Evolve Snacks: This nutritious savoury snacks startup provides a diverse range of more than 60 SKUs, including multigrain puffs, oats chips, ragi chips, roasted seeds, foxnuts, and pita chips. It also offers subscription plans for its popular products.

Happy Jars: Happy Jars offers a range of healthy nut butter made from natural peanuts in flavours like crunch and jaggery. The brand continues to experiment with exciting flavours and maintains flexibility in production to meet market demands.

Nova Nova (formerly Waffle House): Nova Nova is a Quick-Service Restaurant (QSR) outlet that specialises in waffles. during COVID-19, the startup pivoted to the D2C space, introducing a unique product line called Waffle Cookies.

Edited by Suman Singh