From Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Deepika Padukone to Virat Kohli, these celebs have invested in startups

Indian celebrities—from Bollywood to cricket—have become a part of the Indian startup ecosystem in various capacities in the past few years. Let’s take a look at five such celebrities and their investments.
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India has the third-largest startup ecosystem with 100 unicorns, with angel investors, venture capital firms, HNI’s (high net-worth individuals), and industrialists actively investing in these rising startups.

Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of ‘Make in India’, the country’s startup ecosystem has found support from around the world. This includes large corporations that have boosted foreign direct investment (FDI) in the nation. 

B-Town celebrities and cricketers have also joined the club in the past few years and ventured into the Indian startup ecosystem. Apart from being brand ambassadors, these celebrities have started betting on startups in various sectors, and some of them have turned from investors to entrepreneurs.

Here is a list of celebrities who have invested in diverse fields like femtech, nutrition, and sports, and are being a part of India’s growth story: 

Deepika Padukone

Actor Deepika Padukone has invested in femtech startup Nua

Mumbai-based femtech startup Nua raised $7.1 million in funding from actor Deepika Padukone and other investors in 2021. 

Founded by Ravi Ramachandran, Projjol Banerjea, and Swathi Kulkarni in 2016, the D2C (direct-to-consumer) wellness brand offers a range of products for women, including sanitary pads, intimate wash, panty liners, etc.

Nua offers a subscription service where subscribers can provide the date of their last cycle and the gap between two periods to ensure that women get their customised box of pads delivered before their next period starts.

By leveraging its vibrant online community and customers, Nua claims to be focusing on challenging taboos around menstruation.

The startup said Deepika Padukone will work closely with Nua to ideate and create wellness solutions.

Virat Kohli

Cricketer Virat Kohli invested an undisclosed amount in Delhi-based Rage Coffee in 2019.

Founded by Bharat Sethi in 2019, Rage Coffee is a D2C brand that manufactures and offers a variety of vitamin-infused, vegan-friendly instant coffee flavours.

The products are retailed through leading online platforms, its own website, and 1,000 plus offline touchpoints through a network of distributors.

Rage Coffee claims that beans and other raw materials for packing come from different places in India and the world, including Indonesia, Firozabad, Chikkamagaluru, etc.

It offers Dark Chocolate, Butterscotch Delight, Chai Latte, Irish Hazelnut, Sparky Orange, and a few other flavours in the instant coffee range.

Bharat said, “His investment has added a lot of value to the brand, given that the brand’s values, ethos, and identity are aligned and in harmony with Virat Kohli. It is very fulfilling to know someone as fit and healthy as Virat, who believes in Rage’s quality and promise. Such collaborations increase trust and reliability in the brand's products, allowing them to break through the clutter of traditional competition.” 

“If the utilisation is done right and the partnership is in sync mutually by both the parties involved, then surely the partnership is much deeper, the vision is duly shared, and growth is well charted,” Bharat had told YourStory in an earlier interaction.

The startup claims to have grown by 500 percent year-on-year in FY 2021-22.

Anushka Sharma 

Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli have backed Brue Tribe Foods | Image Credit: Viral Bhayani's Instagram

Mumbai-based Blue Tribe Foods, founded by Nikki Arora Sigh and Sandeep Singh in 2019, provides plant-based meat products that allow consumers the indulgence of meat without having to sacrifice on taste.

The products are made with soybeans, grains, peas, lentils, and other vegetarian ingredients that mechanically extract vitamins, proteins, and other nutrients.

Blue Tribe’s products are aimed at non-vegetarian eaters who want to switch to environmentally friendly and healthier products without compromising the taste of their favourite dishes.

Blue Tribe sells in a number of channels, from D2C to retail stores and quick commerce like Swiggy, Instamart, and Blinkit. The products are currently available at 600-plus retail and HORECA outlets in the country.

In February 2022, Blue Tribe onboarded actress Anushka Sharma and her husband, cricketer Virat Kohli, as brand ambassadors and investors.

“Virat and Anushka are an iconic couple and partnering with them has helped generate a lot of awareness about the category, something that organically might have taken years to build. They are also synonymous with a plant-forward lifestyle and provide consumers with more confidence while switching to a plant-forward diet,” said Sohil Wazir, CCO, Blue Tribe.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

Bengaluru-based Possible is a nutrition company helping people eat healthy, manage lifestyle diseases, and lose weight through a combination of expert nutrition coaches and nutrient-dense superfoods.

In January 2021, the startup raised Rs 5 crore from Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as a part of its Pre-Series B funding round. 

Founded by McKinsey colleagues Vishnu Saraf and Megha More in 2015, its diet plans include a personal diet coach, a kit of superfoods per month, scientific analysis, and video tutorials. These services are available

through the app.

The startup provides over 70 formulated healthy superfoods and connects users with more than 100 qualified nutrition coaches to help them maintain a proper diet and live a disease-free life.

Possible claims that the superfoods are developed using healthy ingredients such as moringa, millets, and spirulina, among others, and are sourced globally. 

Varun Dhawan

Bollywood actor Varun Dhawan has invested in Fast&Up

Bollywood actor Varun Dhawan has invested in Mumbai-based Fast&Up, which caters to the performance needs in sports and intelligent nutrition supplements for an active lifestyle. It also provides multivitamin drinks and nutritional supplements.

Founded by Vijayaraghavan Venugopal and Varun Khanna in 2015, the startup is also endorsed by some of the top athletes in the country, including Indian cricketers Mayank Agarwal and Priya Punia, and world champion boxer L Sarita Devi

The six-year-old startup has risen rapidly, reaching over 100 million people a month. It introduced 20 new products in 2020 and witnessed a 100 percent increase in sales in FY 2021-22.

Fast&Up aims to cater to the overall health of the entire Indian family through its core belief in intelligent nutrition that is informed-choice certified.

In December 2021, the startup raised an undisclosed funding round from actor Varun Dhawan to enhance manufacturing capabilities, expand globally, and conduct product research to add new categories.

The startup intends to go global, and is already in the process of strengthening itself. 

Edited by Megha Reddy

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