India is home to the third largest startup ecosystem in the world, according to the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
The government data reflects further growth potential, with more than 26 states in the country having set up startup policies.
Going by these stats, it is no surprise that the Indian startup ecosystem is attracting individuals and investors from varied backgrounds and industries, including stars from the tinsel town.
While Bollywood biggies like Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, and Ayushmann Khurrana have already made the plunge as startup investors, a few female actors are also donning the role of investors in the Indian startup ecosystem.
MAKERS India takes a look at some of these new entrants who are expanding their portfolio to become investors and entrepreneurs.
From her big Bollywood break to making movies that matter, and now growing her personal brand with a series of investments, Deepika Padukone has come a long way.
The actress went on to invest an undisclosed amount of capital in Drums Food International, the parent company of flavoured and greek yoghurt brand, Epigamia. The investment was reported to be a part of a multi-crore strategic partnership, as part of which Deepika would also be endorsing the brand as its brand ambassador.
She was also among the group of venture capital investors who participated in a pre-Series A round, where Indian spacetech startup Bellatrix Aerospace raised $3 million. And via her family office, KA Enterprises, the actress also pumped capital in Blu Smart – an electric taxi startup, online furniture rental platform Furlenco, and beauty products marketplace Purplle.
The actor who started her production company, Clean Slate Films, at the age of 25, is the latest entrant in the startup investors’ club of Bollywood.
Anushka, along with her husband and Indian skipper Virat Kohli, made an investment of Rs 2.5 crore in the Bengaluru-based insurtech startup, Digit Insurance, earlier this year. In return, a total of 3.33 lakh equity shares were allotted to the duo, according to the filings with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA).
Anushka and Virat’s choice in the fintech sector clearly stands out, especially since most of their celebrity colleagues have leaned towards either fitness brands or health-conscious consumer brands. Anushka, besides this, also owns the apparel line, Nush.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas
Bumble, the dating and social networking app which prides itself as a women-first app, grabbed eyeballs when it onboarded Priyanka Chopra Jonas as one of its investors. The partnership, which was made public in 2018, brought the US-based platform to India, opening up the doors for Bumble to one of the largest markets in the world.
The actress has followed up the investment in Bumble by adding another tech startup to her portfolio - Holberton School, a coding education startup. According to media reports, the investment made by the actress was part of an $8.2 million round of funding.
Besides these two tech companies, Priyanka also runs Purple Pebble Pictures, a film production company.
When it comes to baby and mother care products, babyoye.com is easily one of the leading names in this branch of ecommerce. And the startup, which claims to be a one-stop-shop for Indian parents, counts among its investors names such as Accel Partners and Tiger Global. But there is another starry addition to this list – Indian actress Karisma Kapoor. With a 26 percent stake in the company, the ’90s icon is believed to be the single largest individual shareholder in Babyoye.com.
However, Arunima Singhdeo and Sanjay Nadkarni, the founders of the ecommerce startup, continue to own a majority stake.
Model-turned-actress Malaika Arora joined a list of marquee investors, comprising US pop icon Jennifer Lopez, former American baseball shortstop Alex Rodriguez, and branded fitness platform Zumba, when she backed yoga and wellness brand, SARVA.
The startup, founded by yogi-turned-entrepreneur Sarvesh Shashi in 2016 with the goal of building a global community of physically, mentally, and emotionally fit individuals, also boasts a curated list of global investors. This includes names such as David Giampaolo, Chief Executive of Pi Capital; Mark Mastrov, Founder of 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide; and Bill Roedy, Former Chairman & CEO of MTV Networks.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
The latest tinsel town celeb to don the investor’s hat is Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. The actress, along with her mother Vrinda KR, invested in Bengaluru-based environmental intelligence startup Ambee last year. She was reported to have pumped in a little more than Rs 1 crore in the startup, according to filings with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA).
Ambee, founded in 2017 by Akshay Joshi, Jaideep Singh, and Madhusudan Anand, provides information on hyperlocal air quality in real-time.
(Edited by Athira Nair)