Six startups connecting fans with their favourite celebrities

YourStory has curated a list of startups that help fans engage with their favourite celebrities, including getting personalised audio and video messages.
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Most of us have that one celebrity who we would like to meet someday. However, it is difficult to get a picture of a famous person, especially if he or she has a large fanbase.

Now, celebrity engagement startups are using technology to make these dreams come true.

Here are six startups in the segment that are seeing traction:

CELEWISH

Mumbai-based CELEWISH, founded in 2021 by Mohsin Khan and Anvarul Hasan, facilitates celebrity meet-and-greets, video shoutouts, personalised direct messaging from stars, and brand endorsements.

The startup aims to bridge the gap between celebrities and fans via social media.

The startup has on boarded more than 1,500 actors, singers, influencers, sportspeople, and musicians, both national and international.

CELEWISH has collaborated with brands including Nivea, Dream11, Behrouz Biryani, and Biryani By Kilo.

The startups can book these services in exchange for a fee that ranges between Rs 500 and Rs 20,000.

Some of the platform's well-known users include music composer duo Salim and Sulaiman Merchant, international actors such as Enrique Arce, who played Arturo Roman in the Netflix series Money Heist, and wrestler and MMA fighter Ritu Phogat.

GoNuts

Founded by Vinamra Pandiya and Mayank Gupta in 2020, Mumbai-based video shoutout startup GoNuts  helps users get a personalised video message from celebrities for themselves or their loved one.

It allows fans from across the world to book personalised shoutouts and greetings from celebrities, via its app and website.

The startup aims to make a difference by creating a ‘more personal and meaningful connection" that the fans can share with their friends, social circle, and family.

Some of the popular celebrities on the platform include Meet Brothers, Shaan, Shankar Mahadevan, and Usha Uthup; sports stars like Lance Klusenser, Babita and Geeta Phogat, and Jonty Rhodes; TV stars like Cyrus Broacha, and Annu Kapoor, among others.

In November 2020, GoNuts raised Rs 3.5 crore in a seed funding round led by marquee investors Sweta Rau and Archana Priyadarshini to onboard more than 5,000 of the most influential and inspirational celebrities.

Unlu

Delhi-based unlu, founded by Himanshu Periwal, Vipul Agarwal, Akshay Pruthi, and Anurag Dalia in 2020, is a celebrity-to-fan connect platform that lets users directly request advice, a heart-to-heart comment, or a greeting from their favorite celebrity.

The startup claims that the app is designed to give fans across the country a unique and personalised experience.

Unlu has onboarded celebrities including Sania Nehwal, R Madhavan, Kalki Koechlin, Nupur Senon, and Harbhajan Singh, among others.

In February 2021, the startup raised Rs 9 crore in a seed round led by Nexus Venture Partners, Mumbai Angels, Expert Dojo, and TiE to build a technological base, fuel market expansion, and support product development.

Tring

Founded by Akshay Saini, Rahul Saini, and Pranav Chabhadia in 2019, Mumbai-based Tring helps users connect to their favourite celebrities through personalised shoutouts, messages, and videos on their anniversary, birthday, and any other special occasion.

In addition, the startup provides DM (direct message) on Instagram as well as Q&A with celebrities.

Tring says its aim is to bring fans closer to celebrities. The price depends on the celebrities. Its average ranges from Rs 2,500 to Rs 6,000.

In October 2020, Ekta Kapoor’s ALT Balaji acquired a 17.5 percent stake in Tring for an undisclosed amount.

TrueFan

Founded by Nimish Goel, Devender Bindal, and Nevaid Aggarwal in 2020, TrueFanTrueFan connects Indian fans with celebrities through interactive and personalised experiences.

The startup enables users to play simple quizzes around celebrities, and the winner gets a personalised video message from those stars.

It claims it caters to the everyday Indian audience who’ve grown up enacting dialogues from copied hairdos and Bollywood movies of their beloved ‘heroes’ and ‘heroines’ to turn into bathroom-singers with their favorite love songs.

In August 2020, Truefan raised $4.3 million in a seed round of funding by prominent investors like Ronnie Screwvala, Mayfield India, and Seema Capital to grow the business, scale the user-base to one core, and sign up to ten big celebrities from sports, Bollywood, etc.. 

Wysh

Founded by Mahesh Gogineni, Manan Maheshwari, and Varun MS in 2019, Hyderabad-based Wysh provides celebrities with a way to engage with their fans.

Wysh enables fans to get personalised video messages from their favorite celebrities.

It also allows users to gift their loved ones or friends a video directly from their favorite stars.

In January 2020, WYSH raised $2 million in a Series A round led by Kalaari Capital, Whiteboard Capital, AngelList, Touchstone Equities, AET fund, GEMBA Capital, and IIMK to focus on marketing and celebrity acquisition for the platform.

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti