Editorial Team

Headstart Network Foundation joins hands with Bengaluru-based nutrition E-commerce platform CORA Healthcare to launch a community-led D2C discovery initiative called “StarBox”. Which will onboard various emerging D2C brands across India. Both Headstart and CORA believe that the next wave of success for D2C founders and brands will be augmented when the community comes together to drive its growth. With Community at its core, it was a no-brainer for CORA to jointly launch it with Headstart Network, for the benefit of emerging homegrown brands. Starbox can become a one-stop solution for the new-age brands to get placed in the mainstream E-commerce arena and spread a positive social impact in the niche market while making them understand the demand and trends that people follow. Through StarBox, new brands can get a boost and position themselves well in the industry.

Headstart is India’s largest grassroots-level organization that has been supporting entrepreneurship and startups since 2007. They are heavily backing this initiative to help lesser-known brands get the recognition they deserve.

Talking about the initiative, Gautham Sivaramakrishnan, Director, Headstart says “We are ecstatic about the impact being created by the Starbox initiative. The biggest challenge that we noticed with most emerging homegrown brands from across the country, especially non-metros, was the lack of visibility and early feedback for their products, from the senior members of the startup ecosystem such as investors and mentors – something that the Starbox initiative looks to address at scale. It’s wonderful seeing the ecosystem of founders, VCs, and mentors come together to support this initiative.”

CORA Health is a vertical commerce marketplace for health foods and Nutrition working with 200+ D2C brands today giving customers the ease of finding products suitable to them. Along with the launch of the StarBox, CORA shall also join hands with Headstart and several top enablers in the startup ecosystem to take this initiative to the next level by launching a Brand Accelerator, that shall bring structured learning, growth & visibility through CORA’s platform and the accelerator’s strong mentor network. The accelerator program will serve three fold purpose 1- giving credibility and the deserved push to lesser-known brands in the Commerce space 2 – Being a community initiative, bringing together the entire ecosystem to serve a greater purpose of ease of access 3- strengthening CORA’s product base for its end-user.

Talking about the launch, Snigdha Kumar, founder, and CEO of CORA Health shared her thoughts “Solving for discoverability for homegrown brands has always been close to my heart. I started CORA health to give customers access to new-age, high-quality products which suit their health and lifestyle. This D2C Founders-led initiative to bring to light multiple brands from the length and breadth of the country is the need of the hour today. This gives a push to the local D2C ecosystem by giving a platform to new and upcoming D2C brands whilst giving the customer access to new curated brands. Bolstered by the amazing Headstart Team and ecosystem founders, this is truly a community initiative”

In the first version of Starbox, brands launched are – Polka Pop-Flavored Sparkling water, Country Clay -Handmade and Natural Soap, Again- Healthy Drinkable Yogurt, Goodveda- Gomay Hawan Cups, Pagdandi Naturals- Organically Grown Assam Tea, Saratam -Naturally Wood Pressed Groundnut Oil and Go Grub – Healthy snack bars.

Talking about this Initiative K Vaitheeswaran, CEO of Again Drinks, fondly known as the Father of Ecommerce in India spoke: “Headstart & CORA have launched an exciting initiative called Starbox that essentially aims to connect founders and investors using products and brands as the bridge. In a world where connecting people over video calls and pitch decks is the norm, Headstart is taking efforts to put real products and brands in front of investors to attract their attention. I am sure this initiative will lead to several investments shortly, for brands like us. We’d like to acknowledge the tireless efforts of the founders who volunteered with the CORA and Headstart teams, to bring this initiative to light.”

The launch day of the Starbox initiative saw participation & unboxing with leaders from across Globalbees, Blume Ventures, Chiratae Ventures, A91 Partners, Indian Angel Network, LetsVenture, Fireside Ventures, and Walmart.

The initiative is also backed by marquee VCs in the D2C domain and will support the entire ecosystem benefitting the investors, early-stage brands as well as end-users. VCs are associated with the initiative in the capacity of a mentor. The overall evaluation is to present effective results and understand the domain with the industry perspective that can provide a platform to the new brands parallel with the traditional ones.

Damandeep Singh Soni, Chief Business Officer, Globalbees, was one of the mentors from the Startup ecosystem, who had launched the Starbox, at his Bangalore office. He says “ It is important for us at GlobalBees to pay it forward to the ecosystem and strengthen the startup ecosystem by supporting initiatives such as Starbox”.

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