We are prone to watching our favourite celebrities on a small screen or silver screen. However, little do we know about their entrepreneur skills and their investments.
We are prone to watching our favourite celebrities on a small screen or silver screen. However, little do we know about their entrepreneur skills and their investments. We have curated a list of celebrities and influential personalities who have invested extensively in tech startups or tech-based firms. In the past decade, many celebrities across industries have ventured as angel investors for these startups.
And if the new sub-pattern continues to build that of the larger, overarching one of tech investments we should see this trend grow and carry with it significant numbers given the estimated $2 billion collective investment in technology by celebrities to an amount which is several times more in 2020 and beyond.
Let’s take a quick look at the celebrity technopreneurs who have invested or founded in tech startups.
Sachin Tendulkar: The cricket legend himself had invested in Smartron, a Hyderabad-based tech startup manufactures smart devices. It is India’s first global brand with focus on innovation, design, engineering, products and platforms. Smartron’s tronX, is an intelligent connected platform for India and the world offering highly customised and personalised experiences, services and care through next gen of smart devices for various IoT verticals. It’s robust product ecosystem around tronX through a collaborative global open innovation platform that aggregates and accelerates the pace of innovation.
Amitabh Bachchan: The king of Bollywood has invested in Ziddu with an investment of $250,000. It is a Singapore-based startup that specialises in cloud services. It offers free file hosting as well as secured cloud services for documents, photos, videos and audio that can be accessed from mobile or desktop across the world. It is acclaimed to be one of the top five file sharing sites servicing 100 Mn unique users monthly across the globe. The star has had a prior experience of startup investing with JustDial.
Chetan Bhagat: The celebrated author too has had his fair share of investment with Pulse. It is a photo-sharing app, a new age photo sharing mobile app that has a combo of articles and user-generated content. Popular with college going crowd in and around Delhi, the app is a bit like Snapchat but with more contributable streams.
Akshay Kumar & Madhuri Dixit Nene: Both the Bollywood actors, having a fair share of stint on the silver screen have pursued their love for health and wellness, even while investing. Kumar has invested an undisclosed amount in Mumbai-based wearable tech startup, GOQii. It was founded in 2014 by Vishal Gondal and is a smart wearable that helps people track a person’s steps, sleep and other physical activities along with other health benefitting trackers integrated within. Its smart health ecosystem integrates tools for real-time personalised coaching, an explosive high-growth health ecommerce store, scheduling health checkups, a health locker.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: Former Miss World and Bollywood actor recently turned angel investor in an investment with her mother, Vrinda KR, with the duo invested INR 50 Lakh each in Bengaluru-based environmental intelligence startup Ambee. The startup was founded in 2017 by Akshay Joshi, Jaideep Singh and Madhusudan Anand. It provides data about hyperlocal air quality which is accessible to developers, consumers, health researchers and media companies. The platform uses proprietary data and analytics to help customers make informed decisions or take preventive measures in a situation of severe environmental distress.
Priyanka Chopra: Our desi girl known to kick start her Hollywood journey with Quantico is not only an ace actor but slay in her investment. Her recent ones being an alternate college education startup Holberton School, a San Francisco-based Holberton School was founded in 2015 by Julien Barbier, Rudy Rigot and Sylvain Kalache is a project-based alternative to college for the next generation of software engineers. and dating app Bumble. It was founded by Whitney Wolfe Herd in December 2011 as a “feminist dating app.”
MS Dhoni: Most loved former Indian Cricket Captain, MS Dhoni also known for his Mechaphilia launched Run Adam. It brings together all the sports stakeholders under one platform. By integrating data, creating access, facilitating communication – the sporting ecosystem is now a click away. We are here to help realise every sporting dream – no matter what your sport is or where you come from.
Anil Kumble: This former cricket player launched a startup known as Spektacom which uses state-of-the-art technologies to revolutionise sporting experiences. Power Bat is the first product which is a set of sensors which can be attached to a cricket bat to capture batting-related data points in real-time.
Ashton Kutcher: Over the years, the Hollywood actor has served on the management and creative teams of various startups, including Ooma and Katalyst Media. In 2013, he joined Lenovo as a product engineer, where he helped create the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro. One of his earliest investments was in Skype, a decision which paid dividends when the company was purchased by Microsoft in 2011 in an $8.6 billion deal. He has also seen success with his investments in Airbnb, Foursquare and Spotify.
Types of funding in which celebrities invest
Celebrities typically prefer not to invest in seed funding, as those rounds are aimed at financially supporting the early stages of product development, including product design and iterating. Because celebrities get the most out of their investment when the targeted consumer aligns with their followers, Series A is the most popular point for celebrities to invest. At this point, the audience has been established and the celebrities’ personal brand can elevate the startup to the next level.
Diverse trend of investment
Investment is not limited to an industry or two, it too has a range of industries and types. By evaluating the interests and booming capacity of a particular industry, celebrities try to test the waters by being an angel investor. Industries that are currently soaring high in the investment domain includes the following:
- Traditional Tech startups
- Edtech & Fintech startups
Types of investments
- Equity for endorsement
- Regular investment, minimal endorsement
- Creating own VC funds
- Launching their own startup firms
According to a report by CB Insights, since 2007, the top 75 investors by a number of deals have participated in over 350 funding rounds totalling around $4.6 billion. In 2015, celebrities invested around $2 billion across 101 deals to private technology companies. CB Insights found that, of the top 22 most active celebrity investors, around half were from the music industry while the rest had gained their fame from TV, movies, sports, or fashion.
We know that the list of celebrity technopreneurs is never-ending, but we hope that you enjoyed reading this article.
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