The biggest tech startup ecosystem of the world, Silicon Valley, has had a tinge of glamour on with investments from Hollywood stars and celebrities. Over the last few years, celebrities including the likes of Ashton Kutcher, Snoop Dogg, Nas, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, among others, have shown off their penchant for tech by backing various startups. Priyanka Chopra, who is now working in the US, also backed Tinder-rival dating app Bumble.
The trend has now trickled down to India, which is home to the third largest tech startup ecosystem of the world and the third largest film industry in the world too. Bollywood stars and celebrities have also been exploring investments in the technology space to diversify their interests and use their reach for entrepreneurial goals. The latest star-backed investment comes from Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone in a multi-crore strategic partnership with Mumbai-based FMCG health-food brand Epigamia.
Padukone joins the elite club of celebrity investors in India, which includes the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Shilpa Shetty among others.
Deepika Padukone Invests In Epigamia
The investment by Padukone comes as an extension of the recently closed Series C round of funding led by Verlinvest, Danone Manifesto Ventures, and DSG Consumer Partners.
Rohan Mirchandani, cofounder, Epigamia said the actress’s massive appeal aligns with the health conscious youth of India that the brand is hoping to reach. “Our shared set of core values and beliefs is what drew us together and this bonding principle, along with Deepika’s involvement in our products and brand, will be extremely valuable for us,” he said.
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Epigamia was launched in 2015 by Mirchandani, Uday Thakker, Ganesh Krishnamoorthy, and Rahul Jain as a Greek yoghurt brand and expanded its portfolio to include artisanal curd, snack packs, Indian sweets, and smoothies.
Arjun Kapoor Invests In FoodCloud.In
Before Padukone donned the investor hat, Bollywood actor Arjun Kapoor had announced his investment in home food delivery company Foodcloud.in to empower women.
Led by Vedant Kanoi and Sanjhi Rajgarhia, the food delivery platform runs on the premise of home cooks delivering hygienic and home cooked food to customers from their kitchens.
“My aim at investing in Foodcloud.in is to contribute towards a larger societal purpose of empowering the homemakers to contribute towards their family income,” Kapoor has said at the time.
Suniel Shetty Invests In SQUATS
Food and fitness seem to be a common theme in most Bollywood-backed startups. Pune-based online fitness community SQUATS announced that Bollywood actor and producer Suniel Shetty has invested an undisclosed investment in the company.
SQUATS founder Jitendra Chouksey, said, “Suniel Shetty has continuously set new benchmarks in his acting career, business and fitness. His success across domains is driven by the clarity of his vision. Even at 58, he is fitter than most people in their mid-20s. This coming together of mutual synergies is testament to the strength of the SQUATS’ result-oriented approach to fitness.”
Bollywood And Startup Investments: A Trend
These recent investments by the Bollywood stars have burgeoned the investment from the film industry in tech startups. Here are some other recent investments:
- Indian actress Priyanka Chopra invested in two US-based startups — alternate college education startup Holberton School and dating app Bumble. Along with Chopra, tennis superstar Serena Williams has also backed Bumble.
- Mumbai-based fitness startup SARVA raised about $6 Mn – $8 Mn from a group of national and international celebrities such as global icon Jennifer Lopez, US baseball player Alex Rodriguez, Indian actress Malaika Arora, and fitness brand Zumba
- Hritik Roshan-backed fitness startup Cure.fit had raised $75 Mn from Piramal Group’s Anand Piramal, Accel Growth, Kalaari Capital, IDG Ventures India in May
- Popular actor and film producer Aamir Khan has invested $300K in online furniture rental platform Furlenco, in his personal capacity
- Jacqueline Fernandez invested in juice maker and online portal Rakyan Beverages, the company behind Raw Pressery.
- Bollywood actor John Abraham picked up a minority stake in a Mumbai-based chain of health, wellness, and beauty stores, Guardian Healthcare
- Former actress Karishma Kapoor had invested in a kids clothing and accessories portal Babyoye in 2011
As the startup ecosystem in India matures, it will attract more high-profile investments from public personalities and Bollywood stars. In fact, consumer-focussed startups get more than just an investment from actors and film stars; the halo effect for the brand from such celebrity involvement is often invaluable.