Huddle waiting for regulatory clarity before before investing in drone space

Huddle waiting for regulatory clarity before before investing in drone space


Chennai: Huddle, an accelerator and early-stage disruptive startups fund, has consciously decided to wait till more clarity emerges from a regulatory standpoint before taking the plunge and funding drone companies, founding partner Ishaan Khosla told ET.

The company, meanwhile, has announced its commitment of Rs 50 crore to grow early-stage startups by 2022.

He said the Huddle team has already deployed close to Rs 25 crore in 2021 across 19 ventures. The funds have been and will continue to be invested in startups across sunrise sectors such as D2C, electric vehicles, alternative nutrition, creators’ economy, and gaming, among others.

When it comes to drones, however, Huddle is dipping its toes in the water as of now. Khosla said that so far Huddle has waited on the sidelines for some regulatory support to help the drone ecosystem thrive.

“We have been excited about it (the drone space) for some time now but we consciously have an understanding to wait out certain regulatory aspects to get a clearer sense in terms of how that ecosystem is evolving. This is one of those sectors wherein we know for a fact that we’re going to play a very active role moving forward, and currently itself we’re evaluating a couple of companies to be able to sort of onboard over the next quarter,” he said.

Another sunrise sector that the company has its eye on is the online gaming space which is another sector that has faced regulatory hurdles. However, Huddle has been clear that they are looking at focusing on companies that focus on entertainment and education for now before exploring gaming companies with an earning focus.

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“In terms of consumer internet gaming, we want to first cater towards the entertainment element, then education, and then go in the earning space. The regulatory elements definitely come on the earning side. Applications which could be a borderline betting venture, we are refraining from them not only due to regulatory needs, but also because it’s easier to acquire customers when you’re talking about entertainment,” Huddle’s other founding partner, Sanil Sachar said.

Sachar said one of Huddle’s portfolio companies, cloud gaming service platform, The Gaming Project, was one of the largest platform gaming ventures in the country that is a pure entertainment play. However, he said that when they reach a certain size and scale and gain trust, companies such as this could transition from the entertainment space to the earning space.

“The regulatory parts are something that are being worked out for each of our ventures with a layer where it’s first education and entertainment or entertainment, education and then earning. Similarly, we also looked at the creator’s economy very early on, which is now a very large ecosystem. Earning is much easier there because it’s more black and white, it is earning between client and customer almost, therefore, that’s where earning played a larger role, rather than entertainment.”

With the company investing Rs 50 crore into accelerated ventures, the founders said they believe Huddle is poised to meet its aim of launching a larger investment fund by mid next year.

Huddle supports early-stage start-ups across multiple business functions such as go-to-market strategy, business development and capital structuring. It works closely with all its founders and equips them with the right infrastructure, social and intellectual capital to build large venture-backable businesses. The accelerator also co-invests up to $300k per venture (on select ventures) alongside a network of funds, family offices, corporate VCs and high-value angels.

The Gurugam-based accelerator and fund was founded in 2017 and began with a mission to create future-ready businesses with a keen focus on enhancing execution.

Some of its key portfolio companies include Bold Care, Cell Propulsion, Wellversed, RACEnergy, F5, Celcius, and The New Shop, to name a few. Several of Huddle’s portfolios have gone ahead to raise funds from reputed investors, including Hapramp (from Anand Mahindra), Cell Propulsion (from Endiya Partners, growX Ventures, Micelio), Wellversed (from Jubilant FoodWorks Ltd), etc.



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