When Sachin Tendulkar invested in tech startup Smartron recently, he termed it as the “beginning of the second innings of his life”. For sportspersons, actors and musicians who have tasted success in their chosen field and have made lots of money, investing in startups is the new order of celebrity life. Not just Tendulkar, other cricketers, too, are choosing that route. Cricketer Yuvraj Singh has a $10 million seed fund called YouWeCan Ventures. The seasoned cricketer has funded 11 startups including Intelligent Interfaces, Vyomo, Moovo, Healthians, EduKart, JetSetGo, Cartisan, Sports365, SportyBeans and Carl’s Jr. In the West, too, this is a growing trend. Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher’s investment in Skype in 2009 is supposed to have been one of his most profitable investments. He has also backed Uber, Spotify and Airbnb. Again, Leonardo DiCaprio has invested in Tel Aviv based photo sharing app Mobli.
Celebrities, of course, reap rich dividends when these startups make it big. For startups, however, it isn’t just the money put in by the celebrities that is much appreciated. Getting celebrity backing helps in more ways than one. Not only does it get other like-minded investors’ attention, the celebrity connection also helps in brand-building.
Here are five Indian startups that got funded by celebrities in the last six months.