After Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone, Akshay Kumar invests into startups
The Indian startup scene is now getting a boost from the film industry as celebrities like Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Deepika Padukone and Akshay Kumar are investing their money and influence in it.Updated: Jul 03, 2019, 14:27 IST
Actors endorsing brands is now passé. The Indian startup scene is now getting a boost from the film industry as celebrities, so far content to be the face of a brand, are investing their money and influence in it. The latest name to join the list is actor Akshay Kumar who recently invested an undisclosed amount as part of Series C funding in wearable tech startup, GOQii.
Earlier, actor Deepika Padukone entered into a strategic partnership with Mumbai-based Greek yogurt brand Epigamia. This comes after Priyanka Chopra Jonas’ maiden venture as an investor, in social and dating application Bumble.
Talking about the phenomenon, venture capitalist Prerna Bhutani explains, “Through these deals, most celebs are associating themselves with brands that resonate with their personas. Moreover, the stars get to participate in the upside that gets created as an outcome of their association, since they are equity holders. This is something that they are unable to do with established brands they endorse — the brands get all the benefit of association, the celeb just makes the fee.”
Most brands bank on the kind of influence celebrities bring in. Padukone is India’s second most valued celebrity brand after ace cricketer Virat Kohli. Explaining how having a celeb investor helps the brand expand its customer base, Nitin Kanchan, CEO, Ka Enterprises LLP, says, “Given the celebrity’s enormous influencing capability, at the initial stage itself , discussions result in a mutually acceptable strategy which ensures that the celebrity through the initiative is accepted as a ‘business accelerator’. Deepika is presently ranked as per Duff & Phelps brand valuation report at the Numero Uno position. Hence to fully utilize the power of the brand it would be essential that the company should have rolled out and created an acceptance level stage for their businesses.”
In recent years, several actors have invested in the tech, fashion, food and health spaces. Recently, actor Shahid Kapoor, and his wife, Mira Rajput Kapoor, have invested in Sarva, a wellness startup. Talking about it, Shahid had earlier said, “My personal journey with fitness and wellness began over two decades ago when I was a teenager. Over the years, I’ve witnessed the benefits of fitness and holistic living first-hand so when I met Sarvesh Shashi (CEO and co-founder of Sarva), we could connect to his vision.”
So what do startups consider while doing a partnership with a celebrity? Sarvesh Shashi explains, “It is mostly about what the celebrity stands for. And, all three of my celeb investors, Shahid Kapoor , Jennifer Lopez and Malaika Arora stand for fitness and they genuinely live that life of fitness and holistic living. Secondly, they have about 120 million followers put together and over 200 million and more followers across all social media followers and we believe this would help us expand our brick and mortar reach.” He further adds, “The most important thing is that the minds should be aligned that of a brand and investor.
However, adman Prahlad Kakkar observes Shah Rukh Khan is one of the first actor-investors in the industry. “His example made everybody realise even if he stops acting tomorrow, he will still be a multi-billionaire owing to the right investments. And stars will only invest in a domain that they understand.”
But how does a celebrity investor help a startup? “Association with a celeb gives a lot of validation, especially for a young brand. The trust factor is higher than a regular endorsement. Consumers know a young brand can’t afford to pay these actors, so they feel the association must be because the brand is really good. A celeb’s association also works wonders in building the distribution channel — distributors and retailers are more willing to stock a brand endorsed by a known name,” Bhutani adds.
Interact with Ankita Rawat at @Sacatomato1