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Actress Athiya Shetty Backs Social Commerce Startup Stage3

Actress Athiya Shetty Backs Social Commerce Startup Stage3

Stage3 had raised INR 20 Cr in a Pre-Series A funding round in December 2021 led by Inflection Point Ventures and LC Nueva Investment Partners

The startup claims to have clocked a 30% increase in its follower base across social media platforms in the last 12 months to reach 500,000 followers

With this investment, the Bollywood star kid joins a host of Indian celebrities backing Indian startups, including her father Suniel Shetty

Following the footsteps of her father Suniel Shetty, Bollywood actor Athiya Shetty now has invested an undisclosed amount in Delhi NCR-based social commerce startup Stage3. 

Alongside her role as an investor, Athiya also joins Stage3 as its creative director. The startup plans to bank on Athiya’s stardom and fashion sense, and fuel its position within the creator economy.

Athiya’s backing follows Stage3’s INR 20 Cr ($2.65 Mn) Pre-Series A 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 build data science capabilities. 

Founded in 2016 by Sabena Puri, Sanchit Baweja and Rina Dhaka, Stage3 is a social commerce marketplace for fashion and lifestyle. 

The influencer-driven platform focuses on providing affordable fast fashion in the form of celebrity or influencer endorsed designer outfits and accessories. 

The startup claims to be working towards building a network of 5 Mn+ influencers, serving over 300 Mn digitally native GenZ and millennial shoppers. 

“There is a wealth of untapped potential and Stage3 is leading the way to become a conduit of success for the upcoming generation of creators,” Athiya said, outlining the synergy. 

“I have always expressed myself through fashion, and love being a part of the creator economy. I’d been looking for the right platform through which I could empower others and found that with Stage3,” the actor said. 

Athiya’s father and Bollywood actor Suniel Shetty has previously invested an undisclosed amount in fitness startup Aquatein last month. He joined Aquatein, an Inc42 find in ‘30 Startups To Watch October 2021 Edition’, as investor and brand ambassador. He also joined Colexion as an investor and advisor, another Inc42 find from February 2022, and an NFT marketplace on the polygon network.

Celebrities Backing Startups On The Rise

Meanwhile, there has been a rise of creators-turned-entrepreneurs globally and in India. Fenty Beauty by Rihanna is valued at $2.8 Bn, Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner have both started brands in the fashion and beauty space valued at more than $1Bn. 

In India, Bollywood actor Katrina Kaif invested an undisclosed amount in omnichannel lifestyle retailer Nykaa in 2020, through a secondary transaction. The investment comes almost a year after Kaif launched her beauty brand ‘Kay Beauty’ in 2019 in partnership with Nykaa.

A week after, Actor Alia Bhatt also invested an undisclosed amount in Nykaa in 2020, through a secondary transaction. She already had a minority stake in Mumbai-based fashion tech startup StyleCracker.

Growth Of Social Commerce Startups In India 

The social commerce segment in India is a fast-growing sector, with names like unicorn Meesho, YouTube-acquired social commerce startup SimSim, GlowRoad, Bengaluru-based Trell that acquired Womaniya, DealShare entering unicorn club this year, Elevation Capital-backed CityMall and Bulbul getting attention from both customers and investors. 

In the financial year 2020, the social commerce industry in India was valued between $1.5 Bn – $ 2 Bn. According to a 2021 Bain & Company report, it has the potential to grow to $16 Bn – $20 Bn by FY25, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 55-60%.

Meanwhile, India has the third-largest online shopper base globally, with 140 Mn e-retail shoppers in 2021, only behind China and the US.