There is a common thread between Bollywood and Indian startups: they serve the masses at large. The latter with their well thought out products and services. Bringing two fraternities together on the same platform is therefore a no-brainer. Over the years, Indian startups have attracted people from different walks of life. From investors to corporations to Bollywood celebrities, everyone has been privy to the country's growing startup ecosystem. Popular Bollywood stars have followed in the footsteps of investors, with a select few launching a company or two at the same time. There are enough examples!
Bollywood actors invest in Indian startups
Sarah Ali Khan Sara Ali Khan made an undisclosed investment in pop culture and casual wear startup D2C The Souled Store in March 2022. She also became an equity partner in startup D2C. "I am delighted to partner with The Souled Store. In a short time, the brand has carved a niche for itself in the casual wear segment. As a passionate lover of pop culture and convinced that originality and comfort are as important as fashion I see the brand as a perfect asset to invest in. I look forward to being a part of the TSS family," said Sara Ali Khan. Founded in 2013 by Vedang Patel, Harsh Lal, Aditya Sharma and Rohin Samtaney, The Souled Store offers pop culture and casual wear for men and women.It claims to have more than 180 licenses such as Disney, Warner Bros, WWE, IPL and Viacom18.
Samantha Prabhu Known in the South Indian film industry and Bollywood, Samantha Prabhu made her first investment in an Indian startup in March 2022. She invested an undisclosed amount in Hyderabad-based SustainKart, an e-commerce marketplace for sustainable products, partial financing. “We plan to launch SustainKart's first offline store in April. We started working with entrepreneurs who believe in sustainability to open our franchise experiential stores across India. Our goal is to open 30 stores in the first year and a total of 100 stores in two years,” said Shilpa Reddy, co-founder of SustainKart. Founded in 2021 by Shilpa Reddy and Kanthi Dutt, SustainKart offers sustainable and eco-friendly products ranging from fashion to home décor, beauty and wellness, home furnishings to gifts, nutrition and snacks, child and pet care, and more.
Rana Daggubati Rana Daggubati, who often plays antagonistic roles in Bollywood movies, also takes a business approach. In March 2022, his startup Ikonz raised undisclosed seed funding from venture capital firm Village Global and tech investment firm Woodstock. Funds raised would be used to nurture artistic talent around the world and hire top tech talent to build their metaverse and eliminate non-fungible tokens (NFTs) from their IP partners. In January 2022, Socialswag, launched by Daggubati and Akshay Kumar, raised nearly $3.5 million in a pre-Series A funding round led by IMEF and Unicorn India Ventures.
Athiya Shetty Having set foot in the Indian film industry, Athiya Shetty is now embarking on her investment journey. She invested an undisclosed amount in Delhi-based social commerce startup NCR Stage3 in March 2022. Additionally, she will join Stage3 as creative director. The Indian startup plans to capitalize on Athiya's notoriety and fashion sense and strengthen her position in the creative economy. Founded in 2016 by Sabena Puri, Sanchit Baweja and Rina Dhaka, Stage3 is a fashion and lifestyle social commerce marketplace. Athiya's backing follows Stage3's $2.65 million Series A pre-round in December 2021, led by Inflection Point Ventures and LC Nueva Investment Partners, among others. With the funds, the startup aimed to improve technology infrastructure, hire talent, and develop data science skills.
Suniel Shetty In addition to a successful acting career, Suniel Shetty is active in the Indian startup ecosystem. In February 2022, he injected an undisclosed amount into fitness company Aquatein. He also became an Aquatein brand ambassador. According to the startup, its products meet daily nutritional needs. "Good hydration is key to a healthy life. Combining that with a macronutrient you need creates a simple solution for everyone that's accessible, easy to consume, low in calories, and fuss-free," the startup said. based in Mumbai. Founded in 2019 by Ananta Prabhala, Aquatein is a ketogenic, gluten-free, lactose-free and 100% vegetarian drink that consists essentially of water with added protein. In early 2021, the actor expressed interest in the NFT space and joined an NFT marketplace on the Polygon Colexion network.He joined Colexion as an investor and advisor.
Pankaj Tripathi Pankaj Tripathi, famous for his antagonistic roles in films, has shown his faith in Indian startups by making an undisclosed investment in agricultural technology company Krishi Network. With this investment, Krishi Network plans to rapidly scale and scale its AI-based technology platform across India. The deal is seen as Tripathi's first investment in India's start-up sector.
Anushka Sharma Over the years, Anushka Sharma has backed a number of local startups and also founded her D2C clothing line, Nush. In February 2022, she made an undisclosed investment in plant-based meat startup Blue Tribe with her husband Virat Kohli. Founded in 2017 by Sandeep Singh and Nikki Arora Singh, Blue Tribe is a meat alternative start-up offering plant-based meat products like frozen ground beef, chicken nuggets, keema, chicken rolls sausage and momos, which taste, look, feel and cook. meat, but are plant-based. Earlier in 2020, Anushka Sharma and her husband invested $340,000 in unicorn Digit Insurance fintech funding round. Digit Insurance raised nearly $84 million in this funding round.
Tiger Schroff Known for his action films, Tiger Shroff also has an entrepreneurial spirit. In January 2022, he won an undisclosed amount in English learning company Freadom's fundraising round for children aged 3-12. Freadom has raised $2.5 million in a new funding round led by Capital A and other individual investors. The funding would be used for product development and distribution, as well as to further strengthen the startup's vertical footprint. Founded in 2016 by Kavish Gadia and Nikhil Saraf, the startup uses artificial intelligence and data science to advance English learning. It enables children to learn to read in English in any country where English is an aspirational second language. In early 2016, Tiger Shroff launched his clothing line, Prowl, which sells clothing on his website and online marketplace, Amazon.
Deepika Padukone Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone has several feathers on her hat. After finding success in media and entertainment, she launched her clothing line called All About You in 2015. Her family office marked her first investment this year by participating in the pre-series B round of 7, $1 million from D2C's Nua brand for women in June. 2021. Padukone will also work closely with the brand to develop new design and development solutions. The next investment took place in August 2021 as part of the FrontRow learning and community platform's $3.2 million funding round. It offers classes taught by celebrities from various fields including music, cricket and comedy. In September 2021, KA Enterprises, the investment arm of Padukone's family office, invested an undisclosed amount in the Series B funding round of Atomberg Technologies, the Mumbai-based cleantech startup. The home appliance startup makes energy-efficient, remote-controlled, and voice-activated fans and fan accessories.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan Former pageant winner and Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has made some bets on Indian startups. Invested INR 5 Cr in a nutrition-based health startup, possible; as part of a larger funding round in which the startup raised INR 15 Cr ($2 million). This is Bachchan's second investment in the Indian startup ecosystem. Founded in 2015 by Vishu Saraf and Megha More, Possible claims to offer a research-based nutrition service and healthy food products that claim to help with sustainable health management, weight loss and lifestyle disease management. The program includes a personal trainer who assigns clients a personalized nutrition plan. In 2019, it invested in the ambient intelligence startup Ambee.
Farhan and Zoya Akhtar Bollywood actor, director, screenwriter and singer Farhan Akhtar and Indian director, screenwriter and producer Zoya Akhtar have jointly made an undisclosed investment in electric vehicle maker Ola Electric. In addition to the brother-sister duo, other investors including Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma have invested in the electric vehicle manufacturing startup.
Alia Bhatt Alia Bhatt is one of the leading Bollywood actresses. In 2021 he started investing in StyleCraker and listed on Unicorn Nykaa. After that, she also founded her own startup called Ed-a-Mamma, a children's clothing brand that offers clothes for children between the ages of two and fourteen. The brand sells its products through its own website, as well as through the Amazon and Flipkart platforms. In 2021, he invested in wellness startup D2C Phool.co, which turns flower waste into luxurious non-charcoal incense and other products. It plans to use the newly injected capital for its research and development and to expand its footprint worldwide.
Malaika Arora Bollywood actress, dancer and TV personality Malaika Arora showed her entrepreneurial side in 2021. Last year she founded Malaika Arora Ventures to invest in lifestyle, health, fashion and wellness brands. The fund made its first investment in Ayurvedic nutrition brand D2C Kapiva last October. Arora also joined the startup as a brand ambassador.
Shraddha Kapur Shraddha Kapoor, a Bollywood actress and singer, has now become a business investor. In 2021, she invested an undisclosed amount in personal care company MyGlamm, which she also joined as a brand ambassador. The startup has since reorganized with Good Glamm Group as its parent company and launched a series of acquisitions, acquiring PopXO, Moms Co and ScoopWhoop, among others.
Varun Dhawan Varun Dhawan, known for his action and comedy films, recently took a look at India's burgeoning startup ecosystem. In 2021, the company invested an undisclosed amount in nutraceutical brand D2C Fast&Up. Fast&Up manufactures active living products across all segments, including nutrition and immunity.
Akshay Kumar Known for his simple and sporty lifestyle, Akshay Kumar is also an entrepreneurial investor. In 2019, he invested an undisclosed amount in Mumbai-based wearable technology startup GOQii. He also joined the startup's board of directors as an investor and strategic advisor. Founded in 2014 by Vishal Gondal, GOQii is a smart wearable device that helps people track their steps, sleep and other physical activity, and then get more done. Its intelligent health ecosystem includes real-time personalized training tools, explosive high-growth electronic health store, health examination scheduling, health lockers, among others. In January 2021, Kumar and Rana Daggubati co-founded Socialswag, a fan engagement company.
Priyanka Chopra Priyanka Chopra who is quite famous in Bollywood and Hollywood also trusts Indian startups. In 2021, he caused a stir with his investments in alternative college education startup Holberton School and dating app Bumble. The San Francisco-based Holberton School was founded in 2015 by Julien Barbier, Rudy Rigot, and Sylvain Kalache as a project-based alternative to college for the next generation of software developers. Bumble was founded in December 2011 by Whitney Wolfe Herd as a "feminist dating app". Chopra said she was honoured to join the two Indian startups that strive to expand gender diversity in technology and make social contributions to benefit society. After its investment, Bumble started its operations in India.
Ayushman Khurrana Ayushmann Khurrana, a Bollywood actor and singer, became an investor in 2019 when he made an undisclosed investment in The Man Company (TMC), a Gurugram-based men's personal care startup. The actor also became a TMC brand ambassador. This is the actor's first investment in a startup. TMC Founder and CEO Hitesh Dhingra said the funding was part of a strategic investment and the actor would not sit on the board. He added that the funds will be used for branding and expanding the presence across India. The Man Company was founded in 2015 by Bhisham Bhateja, Hitesh Dhingra, Rohit Chawla and Parvesh Bareja. The startup is known for offering a wide range of men's grooming products in different categories, including body and bath care, shaving, and fragrances.
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