Indian celebrities endorsing and investing in Indian Startups

India has the third-largest startup ecosystem globally with the country having more than 20 unicorns. Ever since PM Modi made the Make in India an official announcement, it became a project to strengthen India’s startup economy. Not only it received support from the country but also from people and companies all over the world. While angel investors, venture capitalists and businessmen have been funding emerging startups, celebrities like sportsperson and bollywood actors have also been investing for the past few years. The investment of people and large corporations helped to increase the total investment and startup culture in India. Many Indian celebrities availed this opportunity to invest and boost the economy for startups. Some Indian celebrity investors are also getting involved with the startups by becoming their parent company apart from just funding them.

Anirban Das Blah, the founder of celebrity management firm Kwan Entertainment, says celebs have realised the need to plan for the future and build a business that continues beyond their acting or sporting careers. “Today’s celebs are more careful with their investments. They look at this as a true business opportunity and put in the time and effort required to build the company,” says Blah. Here are some of the celebrities who were quite confident to invest in startups:

The former miss world and Indian actress showed her interest in the startup by making her debut as an angel investor in a startup named Ambee. She invested a sum of ₹ 5 million. Ambee monitors air quality with data from the 100 sensors all over Bengaluru. Its API’s make environmental data easily accessible to developers, businesses in tech, health and media, and researchers. The startup’s state of the art modular, certified environment monitoring stations keeps employees productive, families healthy and administrators informed of any harmful pollutant in the air.

Madhuri Dixit: This Indian actress, producer and television personality is one of the most popular actresses of Hindi cinema. In 2014, she backed an entrepreneur named Vishal Gondal. The duo launched GOQii, a wearable electronics company. The company got a lot of attention from the people from silicon valley. Dr Shriram Nene, her husband, is the Chief Medical Officer of the company. It provides ISO certified health services and CDSCO registered medical services.

Deepika Padukone: The young age generation actress from Bollywood has earned fame by working on basics such as equality with the men in Bollywood. Deepika made her strategic partnership with Mumbai based FMCG health food. In May 2019 the company announced a multi-crore investment with the actress. Launched in 2015 by Rohan Mirchandani, Uday Thakker, Chef Ganesh Krishnamoorthy and Rahul Jain, startup Epigamia started its business as a greek yoghurt brand. Afterwards, it expanded its portfolio to include artisan curd, snack pack. The co-founder of the company said that the company’s ambition was to increase its customer’s base. He added that the company believed in their association with the Bollywood actress. The company aims towards building distribution to 50,000 stores in future.

Shilpa Shetty Kundra: The Bollywood actress has come on board as an equity investor with Honasa Consumer Pvt Ltd’s Mamaearth, a Delhi based mother and childcare products company. After they became parents, the husband-wife duo Varun and Ghazal Alagh founded mamaearth. Looking at the safety concerns for parents the couple decided to launch the company which focuses on toxin-free, safe and international standard products.

Malaika Arora: This popular Bollywood actress invested in SARVA, India’s fastest growing yoga-based wellness ecosystem. As COVID-19 severely affected people’s health and well-being, some of India’s popular celebrities came forward to offer 1 year of free yoga and mindfulness for a healthier 2021 with SARVA. The brand founded by Sarvesh Shashi is backed by institutional investors like Mantra Capital, Fireside Ventures and the Cutting Edge Group. Sarvesh Shashi said that on one hand as they closed most of their studios, they believed that digital health and wellness will be cornerstones of their life in the years ahead as reinforced by the recent pandemic. Malaika Arora also said that yoga is holistic in nature and is one of the best mechanisms for overall physical, mental and emotional health.

Sachin Tendulkar: The renowned Indian cricketer has become a shareholder and brand ambassador of domestic original equipment manufacturer Smartron. The company has launched batches of smart devices and Internet of Things (IoT) products for consumer and enterprise markets. With founder-chairman Mahesh Lingareddy the company has research and development centres in Hyderabad and Bengaluru. It is innovating in the areas of sensor, artificial intelligence, big data technologies, smart, robotics and cloud to bring next-generation services and care, smart devices, targeting customer, industrial, enterprise and infrastructure markets.

Virat Kohli: Known for his stylish looks and unique fashion sense, this Indian cricketer owns a stake in the famous Clothing and Accessories brand, Wrogn. This platform is known for its graphics T-shirts, shirts and lightweight denim jackets. Founded by Anjana Reddy, Universal Sportbiz Pvt Ltd. Wrogn also became the brand sponsor of Royal Challengers Bangalore, the team Kohli captains in the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League. He had also opened a luxurious and fine dining place ‘Nueva’ in New Delhi in 2017. The restaurant provides an impressive and diverse menu with dishes fetched from all parts of the world, including Japan, Italy, and South America.

MS Dhoni: In March 2020, former Indian cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni had invested an undisclosed sum in the startup Khatabook and is also the brand ambassador for the company. Khatabook is an account book app for small and medium businesses which helps business owners keep a check on their accounts, digitally. “Khatabook is the biggest player in the micro, small and medium business segment in the country, with over 8 million active merchants on the app. Khatabook is playing an important role in the digitization of MSMEs helping to increase their incomes and making them more efficient and competitive. We are looking to work closely with the government and financial institutions to strengthen Indian MSMEs,” said Ravish Naresh, co-founder and CEO of Khatabook.