Following their global counterparts, Indian celebrities are now reaching beyond endorsements and turning into full-fledged angel investors focused on start-ups. On Wednesday (Dec 7), Karishma Kapoor became the single largest individual shareholder in a niche e-commerce site for new parents called Babyoye.com.
While the stake acquired by the Bollywood star remains undisclosed, the company has informed Techcircle.in that the founders â€“ Arunima Singhdeo and Sanjay Nadkarni â€“ continue to hold majority stake in their start-up.
Previous investors in Babyoye.com are Accel Partners and Tiger Global Management, active funds focusing on India's fast-rising e-commerce sector. Read more about the beginning of Babyoye.com on Techcircle.in and why a Diapers.com will not work in India.
"I want to share this with every young mother. I really believe in Babyoye's vision of giving babies the right start in life," said Karishma Kapoor, on the website.
The year 2011 has witnessed many actors and Bollywood personalities expressing their interests in online start-ups. Ajay Devgan launched an e-ticketing and film entertainment site Ticketplease.com in January this year. Other investors in this venture include Sanjay Dutt, Bollywood producer Nitin Manmohan, Vatsal Seth, Ramakant Tibrewal, Vijay Jain and Amit Sharma of Roha JP Group. Seth has also set up Celebwears.com with actor Sohail Khan. The site retails accessories like watches and sunglasses, original film merchandise and even props, and targets the youth globally. Seth had told Iamwire, "The Internet has the potential to connect stars to a large number of fans worldwide who can be potential buyers of that particular star's shopping line, accessories stores, etc."
Salman Khan's highly popular Being Human brand of T-shirts and watches are selling like hotcakes offline after Dabangg. He also has an online shop.
In October this year, Shilpa Shetty invested in a group buying site called GroupHomeBuyers.com, set up by Mumbai-based Groupco Infracom Pvt Ltd. The site currently offers deals on real estate and home loans, and plans to include furniture deals as well.
Lingerie and shoes are what Neha Dhupia plans to sell online, after she launches her own line of products. Cricketers are also taking to online fashion retailing. Luxury e-commerce site Exclusively.in has roped in star cricketer Zaheer Khan to launch his own brand of apparel called Sher Singh.
Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, Ashton Kutcher and Justin Timberlake have either invested in start-ups or launched their own ventures. Their preferred sectors appear to be mobile and the Internet.
Singer-actor Timberlake joined a consortium of investors behind the social networking site MySpace that raised $35 million from them. And although they make an unlikely pair, Lady Gaga and Google Chairman Eric Schmidt have kick-started Backplane, yet another social network that is yet to go live.
Kutcher, according to PE Hub, bets on the popular mobile app Flipboard, as well as Airbnb, Hipmunk and Zaarly.
Model/reality TV star Kim Kardashian launched ShoeDazzle.com, an online style service provider that also sells shoes, handbags and jewellery. Unlike other e-commerce start-ups, the site follows a subscription model and a membership will set you back by $39.95 per month. According to Reuters, as of May 2011, it had more than 3 million members and raised $60 million.