Ever since PM Modi’s announcement of Make In India, the nation’s startup economy has been bolstered by various supports around the world, including large corporations that has increased the total FDI in the country. Apart from companies founded outside India, various sources from within the nation have begun to aggressively support the startup economy, including various venture capitals and celebrities. By taking such steps, not only are celebrities limiting themselves to endorsing various products, but actually getting involved knee-deep in their progress as well, lending a credible boost to such companies working for the betterment of the economy.
This article is a compilation of various successful startups that have been supported by faces recognized across the country as Bollywood celebrities.
- Sachin Tendulkar, known better in the cricket community as Master Blaster, is a well-recognized Indian cricketer that has now retired to the entrepreneurship field. While he has been a serial investor for a long time, including purchasing football and tennis teams, his most notable investment in startups has been in Smartron in 2016. Smartron is a Hyderabad-based technological startup that are proud to have roped in the icon as their brand ambassador.
- Shilpa Shetty Kundra, a famous Bollywood actress from the retro 90s and 2000s era, has invested in Group Home Buyers. She took her first step into the world of real estate along with her husband by investing into this classifieds website that helps people find the best client-side deals on properties of various kinds. The site is also well-known for its affordable price listings and volume discounts on its products.
- Amitabh Bachchan, a popular fan-favorite of Bollywood fanatics, has become well-known in the entrepreneurship community for investing in Ziddu, a Singapore-based cloud services organization. With prior experience in tech investments along with JustDial, the veteran actor invested approximately USD250,000 in the company during the year of 2015.
- Mahesh Bhupati, India’s star tennis player a few years ago, has retired from the sport to the world of investments. Recently, he made headlines when he invested in Sports365, a startup that focuses on sport and fitness products. He also owns a production house along with his wife, Lara Dutta, and a sports management company named Globosport as well. He is now serving as the director of the firm of Sports365, an e-commerce sports-based startup.
- A R Rahman, a world renowned and recognized musician, has teamed up with Bollywood director Shekhar Kapur to launch their very own social media platform, Qyuki. It is a media platform that spotlights and showcases youth-centric content to the masses. With this media content, they aim to engage the youth of the nation. The application is built upon the cloud infrastructure provided by another software giant that has invested in the organization, Cisco.
- Salman Khan, a popular actor that has been in the news recently for various allegations, has invested in the travel and tourism company Yatra. Yatra (translating to “Travel” from Hindi”) is the largest tourism portal of the nation, in which the actor has a five percent stake in. While the company has been backed up by Intel Capital and Norwest Venture Partners with money, Yatra signed up Salman Khan on an ad-for-equity deal.
- Madhuri Dixit, one among Bollywood’s younger community of actresses and producers, is a television star that has recently invested in Vishal Gondal’s wearable technology startup, GOQii. The company focuses on wearable fitness technology and personal fitness training for its customers. While she backs the company with her money, her husband serves as the Chief Medical Officer of the same organization.
- Anil Kapoor, a versatile media personality with a strong presence in both Hollywood and Bollywood industries, has invested an undisclosed amount of money in Indi, a social media platform. The platform seems to be a crossover of YouTube and Facebook, and gained Anil Kapoor’s investment after their announcement for launching in India. The platform itself was launched as far back as 2012.
- Ajay Devgn, known for his role as the hero of the popular Bollywood franchise Singham, has also dabbled in the startup economy by launching Ticketplease, one of the nation’s first ticket booking portals. It was aimed to be a one-stop ticketing service for various entertainment industries, including concerts, movies, plays, and so on. While Ajay Devgn promised to keep in touch with the customers via the company’s blog, it was shut down after four posts.
- Yuvraj Singh, yet another star cricketer for the national cricket team of India, is well-known for investing in various startups. One of his more famous investments was Healthians, a home service testing platform that is only currently operating in the National Capital Region. With plans for the company’s geographical expansion of its services, a fresh round of investments also garnered an additional USD 3 million, furthering the company’s success.
- Farhan Akhtar, a Bollywood actor, director, and screenwriter, has invested in Flickbay. Flickbay is a film discovery app that was launched in 2015. Founded by Indians Trishant Sidwani and Vishal Ramchandani, the company was incubated under Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidwani’s production house, Excel Entertainment. Shortly after, the company proceeded to raise nine hundred thousand US dollars from Riva Digital’s CEO, Paul Roy.
- Chetan Bhagat, author of various stories-turned-Bollywood movies including One Night At A Call Center (Karthik Calling Karthik) and Two States (also filmed under the same name), has invested in Pulse. Pulse is a photo-sharing application that promotes user-produced content and has engaged the college-going crowd of Delhi already. Founded under the name InstaLively, the company has various other prominent investors as well.
- Ronnie Screwvala is an Indian entrepreneur and philanthropist, and has been named on Esquire’s List of 75 Most Influential People of the 21st He has also been ranked as the 78th among Time 100 list of influential people around the world. He has invested in UpGrad, a platform analogous to a school for other aspiring entrepreneurs. The application has experts from the industry impart their wisdom from first-hand experience in order to help up and coming entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.
- Robin Uthappa, popular national cricketer for the Indian team, made his debut in the ODI scene during the month of April, 2006. He has also made his presence known in the entrepreneurship and startup industry by investing in HealthEminds, a platform for helping people diagnosed with anxiety and depression. This app has been focused on solving and helping mental health issues ever since its launch in 2013 by keeping its counselling sessions anonymous for both parties.
- Boman Irani, an actor and voice actor of Iranian descent, struck gold in the Bollywood industry in his leading role in the film Munna Bhai MBBS. Similarly, he seems to have struck gold in the venture capital industry after he invested an undisclosed amount in the one-of-a-kind social media platform, Rooter. Rooter is a platform meant for use by sports fans, and brings the community together whenever a sporting event is on. The app also keeps the community engaged by interactions before and after the match, including quizzes, chats, and prediction games.
“With the country’s economy growing, an increasing number of celebrities are divesting their capital towards the growth of both individual companies and the nation as a whole. With continued support, this might be the first step towards a self-reliant India.”