Indian celebrities are increasingly investing in startups, especially wellness and health startups. Amid the trend, Men’s Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli has joined global wellness startup Hyperice as athlete-investor and global brand ambassador.
The US-based startup that plans to expand in India with Kohli on board, was launched in 2010 by Anthony Katz who has worked with many professional athletes and teams and started his venture around performance recovery technology.
What started as an ice and compression sleeve, has since evolved into numerous product lines including its contrast therapy device Hyperprice X, percussion massager Hypervolt, vibrating rollers Vyper, portable heat massages Venom and massager line of Normatec (a company it acquired in March 2020).
In December 2020, Hyperice acquired thermal intelligence startup, RecoverX, after which it ventured into mental wellness with the acquisition of meditation startup Core in June 2021.
Currently present in the US, France, the UK, Italy, Spain, Germany and Portugal, Hyperice plans expansion in India. Virat Kohli will work collaboratively with the wellness and recovery startup to further accelerate the wellness category in the country.
The company also counts tennis player Naomi Osaka, footballer Erling Haaland and NBA player Ja Morant, among its athlete-investors who, too, are brand ambassadors.
Talking about his foray into wellness, Kohli said, “As athletes, the way we train and compete defines us. Hyperice has provided me with a suite of innovative products that have continuously helped me optimize my performance and recovery, so it was a no-brainer for me to join the team as both an investor and ambassador. Hyperice is on a mission to help people move better around the world, and I look forward to helping tell their story in my home country of India and beyond.”
Virat Kohli, who will step down as India’s T20I captain after the T20 World Cup in the UAE next month, has previously invested in insurtech unicorn Digit Insurance, mobile gaming unicorn Mobile Premier League (MPL), fashion startup Universal Sportsbiz among others.
Brands Gain Celebrity Funding, Investments
Celebrities backing new-age companies and co-creating products or private labels with them have been a big trend in the Indian market in the past couple of years. Celebrities are no longer just endorsing products or brands but are highly involved in the business from making investments to co-owning them. Other Indian celebrities who have invested in emerging startups include:
- Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan in Singapore-based blockchain research startup Ziddu; Bachchan Sr has also invested in edtech Eduisfun
- Katrina Kaif in fashion ecommerce brand Nykaa. She also launched her beauty brand, Kay
- Sachin Tendulkar in Bengaluru-based IoT startup, Smartron
- Madhuri Dixit and Akshay Kumar in fitness brand GOQii
- Deepika Padukone in wellness brand Epigamia, hobby-focussed edtech startup FrontRow, and very recently in cleantech Atomberh Technologies
- Priyanka Chopra in dating app Bumble. She also launched her beauty brand, Anomaly
- Alia Bhatt in Nykaa. She also owns a kidswear brand Ed-a-mamma
- MS Dhoni in interior designing brand HomeLane, lifestyle brand SEVEN, accounting startup Khatabook, second-hand cars marketplace Car24, D2C Beverages Brand 7Ink Brews
Many celebrities such as John Abraham, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Sonu Sood, Suneil Shetty, Kajal Aggarwal, Ayushmann Khurrana, Shahid Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan, Karishma Kapoor, Aamir Khan and Jacqueline Fernandez have also heavily invested in emerging brands.
Similarly, in February, former tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi’s D2C beauty and wellness brand Scentials raised about $6 Mn funding from domestic private equity firm TIW Private Equity (TIW PE). The company has created co-branded products with celebrities such as Kohli, Lara Dutta and Salman Khan.