6 Indian celebs who have invested in startups

From Pankaj Tripathi investing in an agri startup to Anushka Sharma investing in alternative meat, YourStory looks at some recent celebrity investments in the startup world.
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Startups in India are incredible pillars of research and innovation, but even these companies can do with a sprinkle of stardust.

The recent years have seen many celebrities, be it from the world of glitz and glamour or sports, associate themselves with brands up and coming. Startups have turned to them for endorsements and investments, and in return, the potential of strong returns helps these celebrities grow their wealth further. For some, it is not so much the monetary aspect as it is the adventure of entrepreneurship - becoming an angel is a fun, adventurous pursuit, and an aspect that is mostly hidden away from the lens of fame.

However, there indeed are many celebrities who are also in it to leverage their high profile to support causes they care about.

Whatever the rationale, celebrities continue to invest in startups in large numbers and in this article, we look at a few famous personalities who have turned angels.

Pankaj Tripathi

Popular Bollywood star Pankaj Tripathi has invested an undisclosed amount in agritech platform Krishi Network, which has a network of over 30 lakh farmers. Krishi Network takes advantage of the growing rural internet penetration to make data more accessible to farmers and empowers them to reap greater benefits from their land.

It was in his village that Pankaj was introduced to theatre. (Image Source: Pankaj Tripathi/ Facebook)

The popular star, with many hit films and web series to his credit, describing his interest in the venture, said, "Coming from a farmer's background, I have always believed in supporting initiatives that help farmers with access to information to grow their business. Back in my days as a farmer, genuine and correct information was always a concern, and seeing how Krishi Network is supporting farmers is commendable.”

Anushka Sharma

Actress Anushka Sharma, an avowed vegetarian, recently joined alternative meat startup Blue Tribe Foods as an investor and brand ambassador. Anushka and her husband, Virat Kohli, invested an undisclosed amount in the startup.

Speaking on the partnership, Anushka said, "Virat and I have always been animal lovers. It's been years since we decided to adopt a meat-free lifestyle. The collaboration with Blue Tribe is a step to tell people how they can be more conscious and leave less impact on the planet by switching to a plant-based diet. We hope that more people would like to understand the need for it and thus, help the planet and the life in it."

Anushka’s earlier startup investments include Bengaluru-based insurtech startup Digit.

Virat Kohli

Cricketer and former captain of the Indian team, Virat Kohli has invested in Bengaluru-based startup, Galactus Funware Technology. He is also an investor in Blue Tribe, on which he recently commented -

"At the end of the day, I'm a foodie too. I want to enjoy the kind of food I love without leaving a huge carbon footprint. I know a lot of people feel the same way. This is why I believe if we can have a lower dependence on meat, without shortchanging our taste buds, there is potential for a planet-changing impact. This is where Blue Tribe is proving to be a gamechanger, striking a perfect balance between food that's really tasty AND good for the planet."

Indian Cricket Captain, Virat Kohli

Virat’s previous startup investments include social media startup Sports Convo; e-gaming startup Mobile Premier League (MPL); insurtech startup Digit Insurance; health and fitness startup Chisel Fitness; food startup Nueva; men’s casual apparel brand Wrogn; fashion startup Universal Sportsbiz (USPL); and wellness startup Hyperice.

Alia Bhatt

Actor Alia Bhatt has many entrepreneurial interests. Her most recent role as an investor has been with IIT Kanpur-backed D2C startup Phool.

Founded in 2017, the startup focuses on flower cycling innovations to upcycle cellulose waste and concentrates on manufacturing charcoal-free incense and other wellness items.

Alia Bhatt

"Phool incense really stands out for its fine natural fragrances and amazing packaging. I admire the founder’s vision of making incense and bio-leather from recycled flowers that contribute to keeping our rivers clean, creating a humane alternative to leather, and providing employment to women in India’s heartland. "I’m proud that these products are created in India and are wowing the world and I’m thrilled to join the investors who are backing the company."

Alia has previously invested in omnichannel lifestyle retailer Nykaa, and fashion-tech startup StyleCracker. Additionally, Alia started her entrepreneurial journey with the launch of 'Ed A Mamma," a kids' clothing line, in November 2020.

Deepika Padukone

Mumbai-based startup Atomberg Technology raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Bollywood star Deepika Padukone.

Atomberg, founded in 2012 by IIT Bombay graduates Manjo Meena and Sibarata Das, claims that its fans benefit households by saving up to 65 percent electricity and Rs 1,500-2,000 per year per fan by only using 28W power at full speed.

On the investment, Deepika says, "Atomberg’s vision in trying to create smart and energy-efficient consumer appliances for the ever-evolving new-age Indian consumer is something I absolutely relate to. The team, over the last five years, has demonstrated that they have all the key elements to create a truly valuable and differentiated consumer brand."

Deepika Padukone

Deepika’s other startup investments include spacetech company BellatrixAerospace; taxi startup Blu Smart; edtech startup FrontRow; FMCG player Epigamia; and digital pet care startup Supertails.

Malaika Arora

Celebrity and fitness queen Malaika Arora turned strategic investor after investing an undisclosed amount in a Mumbai-based homegrown D2C Ayurvedic brand, Kapiva.

Founded by Ameve Sharam in 2016, Kapiva began manufacturing Ayurvedic products and has a portfolio of more than 40 food products. It claims to be backed by a 100-year-old legacy.

"I stand for fitness, I stand for wellness, I stand for a certain lifestyle, and that is a healthy lifestyle. It’s not something that I just talk about - I live it, I breathe it every day of my life. And I also do know if I can, if I can in any way, change people's mindset, you know, I think then my job is done. It is the need of the hour, and everyone wants to follow a healthy lifestyle not just for the moment, but also for the long term," says Malaika of investing in a concept like Kapiva.

Malaika Arora Khan (image credit: pinkvilla.com)

Malaika has earlier invested in Indian yoga wellness startup SARVA . In September 2021, the actor announced the launch of her own venture, ‘Malaika Arora Venture’ (MVA), to invest in health, wellness, and lifestyle brands.

Edited by Anju Narayanan

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