HT Labs is HT Media’s “Startup Factory” dedicated to developing digital-first products complementing the existing product portfolio. Launched in April 2020, HT Labs has built 5 diverse products in a span of 18 months and has an impressive pipeline across verticals. Led by publishing industry veteran AvinashMudaliar, HT Labs has a portfolio spanning across Edtech, Fintech, OTT, Food and Digital Publishing across B2B and B2C space. While OTTplay&Slurrp are their latest products in the content discovery space, HT School is a tech-powered platform that provides for students’ holistic development, with the motto – “Learning for Everyone”.
The innovation hub comprises a strong team of 150+ across technology, product, design, content and editorial; that delivers end to end conceptualization, prototyping, testing, and product launch & product growth! HT Labs encourages an entrepreneurial attitude across teams and promotes innovation that addresses contemporary challenges.
Slurrp is India’s largest recipe app with over 3 Lac+ recipes. Slurrp was born out of the problem that there are a lot of recipes out there but it becomes very difficult to narrow down on one recipe that fits your choice of cuisine, health consideration, regional choices, ingredient preferences and allergy considerations, all together. HT Labs decided to solve this problem using AI and launched India’s first recommendation engine for recipes – Slurrp.
Avinash Mudaliar CEO & Co-founder – HT Media Labs in an exclusive chat with MediaNews4U talks about building HT Labs, conceptualising Slurrp during the pandemic and much more…
What was the vision behind building HT Labs?
HT Labs is an innovation hub dedicated to building digital-first products. It was built to cater to several pressing contemporary need gaps that were identified during the pandemic. With many forced to stay indoors and take up domestic chores such as cooking for the first time, the challenge was obvious. To cater to this, we came up with Slurrp that empowers not just amateur cooks but also budding master chefs by letting them discover food and drink recipes from a range of cuisines based on their preferences, without compromising on their health goals.
Also, with theatres remaining shut, most had to turn to OTTs for their fix of movies and shows but the remarkable spike in streaming content led to a problem of plenty and many couldn’t arrive at/find content that caters to their taste. To help users find movies and shows based on their favourite genres, filmmakers, actors from across 50+ OTT platforms, we launched OTTplay, a review and recommendation app that keeps one updated on all things OTT.
Another problem that HT Labs noticed was the impact of the pandemic on the news, media, and publishing industry. A lot of small and medium publishers were impacted severely by the pandemic and HT Media’s experience could help these publishers. However, this meant that they had to find digital ways to remain connected with their audiences. This is where HT Labs created Upublish. An affordable all-inclusive system that takes care of the entire tech that is needed for publishers to go online, for a very nominal price. Publish takes care of the server, infrastructure, content management, traffic load, and page performance, enabling publishers to focus on creating engaging content.
We also noticed that new-age investors, while keen on investing their savings, are cautious about dramatic market movements. Mint Genie understands and caters to the new-age investor by delivering as a platform that keeps them updated on the latest news, analysis, and stock updates. It also has a virtual stock exchange that lets early-stage investors learn the tricks of the trade through gamification.
How was Slurrp conceptualized and launched? Today there are so many cooking videos around, what is the USP of Slurrp?
Slurrp is a food and drinks discovery platform that provides users with a host of features such as personalised recipe recommendations, a meal planner that allows one to plan their meals by bookmarking favourite recipes, a Nutrimeter tool that measures your BMI and suggests customised recipes based on individual calorific needs. The platform helps users by solving their eternal struggle with figuring out what to cook and how based on their choice of favourite cuisines and diet goals. Slurrp is available for free on Web, Android and iOS.
Some Exciting Features of Slurrp:
- 3 Lakh food and drink recipes across 100+ cuisines with a detailed calorific breakdown of the Macro and Micronutrients for all recipes
- The Nutrimeter feature helps users understand the recommended calorie intake based on their BMI and meal schedule
- The Meal planner helps users plan their meals in advance by pinning recipes to a calendar
We aim to bring the joy of cooking back into households across the country while also helping users to understand what is being consumed from a nutrition point of view. The idea is to build Slurrp as the go-to destination for foodies and cooking enthusiasts and to celebrate cuisines and recipes from every nook and corner of India and the world.
How did the pandemic help bring back home-cooking as a hobby? Do you think Slurrp will aid this acceleration? You have 3+ lac recipes, how have these been curated?
Of the Top-10 ‘How to’ Google searches for the year 2020, 4 out of the 10 were related to food – How to make paneer, Dalgona Coffee, jalebi and cake. With the pandemic upon us, there has been a steady increase in people wanting to cook at home to not only eat healthily but also to consider cooking as a hobby. This is where Slurrp aids and empowers culinary enthusiasts by providing them with a range of recipes from across cuisines that consider personalised preferences such as vegetarian/non-vegetarian, calorific and nutritional value, food allergies and even diets such as Keto, Paleo and many more. With users ranging from experienced homemakers to amateurs in the kitchen who want to whisk up something quick and tasty, Slurrp has something for everyone.
Personalised recommendations are provided to users in the form of recipe suggestions that are specifically curated for each user. The recommendation engine powered by AI & ML uses a mix of the user’s preferences such as their favourite cuisine, diets being followed, allergies if any, their dislikes for a particular ingredient and so on. Over time, the user’s activity on the platform with respect to the features on Slurrp such as adding a recipe to the meal plan, adding a recipe to a collection, items added to the shopping list, the rating provided to recipes and other user behaviours to understand each user’s intent and thereby continuously improve our recommendations to delight the user.
Are there any features in Slurrp for health enthusiasts or calorie-watchers?
Every food and drink recipe on Slurrp includes its calorific information broken down to understand the macro and micro-nutrient composition of the recipe. The Nutrimeter takes into consideration the suggested daily calorie intake to provide recipe recommendations as per the user’s meal schedule and BMI. Slurrp’s focus is not only on food discovery but also considers the nutritional aspect to allow users to understand the calorific breakup of what each recipe entails.
What will be the innovative marketing idea for this App and has the team though of any strategies to popularize this App for the food enthusiast and food lover?
A lot of exciting stuff coming up for foodies! Keep watching this space for more.