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From Deepika Padukone, Alia Bhatt to Katrina Kaif – Bollywood’s leading ladies are writing big cheques for Indian startups

From Deepika Padukone, Alia Bhatt to Katrina Kaif – Bollywood’s leading ladies are writing big cheques for Indian startups
  • Deepika Padukone, who makes her investments through her family office, recently invested in learning platform Frontrow.
  • Katrina Kaif and Alia Bhatt have both picked up stakes in Indian e-commerce unicorn Nykaa.
  • The Indian startup ecosystem is becoming an attractive investment destination for Bollywood’s biggest stars.
The Indian startup ecosystem is becoming an attractive investment destination for Bollywood’s biggest stars. And recently, actresses from tinsel town are cutting out cheques and making their first big investments in some of India’s big startups.

While many of them are strategic investments where the actors pick up an equity stake in the company in exchange for promotions, marketing and PR, there are also many who are betting on startups purely as an investment exercise.

Here are the top actresses and their bets on startups



Deepika Padukone

Deepika Padukone
BCCL

Deepika Padukone runs her own family office through which she does her startup investments. The actress had last year invested in the yogurt company Epigamia. And most recently, the actress is back with another investment in learning and community platform FrontRow. The actress was joined by marquee investors like Lightspeed and Elevation Capital (SAIF Partners) to invest $3.2 million in the startup.

Frontrow’s learning platform focuses on creative arts and sports and that’s what attracted Padukone’s investment in the startup. “Growing up, I wasn’t exactly academically inclined. My interests lay in diverse spheres and activities outside of the traditional classroom- dance, sports, music, modelling & performance arts, to name a few. And if there’s one thing I wish I had access to while growing up, it would be a platform like ‘FrontRow’ - one that gives individuals access to abundant knowledge in non-academic fields as well as connects them to a community of peers and professionals in their field of interest,” she said.

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Alia Bhatt

Alia Bhatt
Alia Bhatt/Facebook

Alia Bhatt recently invested an undisclosed amount in beauty e-commerce platform Nykaa. The investment was made through a secondary transaction. Earlier in May 2020, Nykaa had raised ₹100 crore ($13 million) from Steadview Capital, one of its existing investors. The investment had brought Nykaa a ticket to the unicorn club, having already raised over $100 million in total funding.

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Katrina Kaif

Katrina Kaif
BCCL

Nykaa had also raised investment from Bollywood star Katrina Kaif. Kaif’s investment was also through a secondary transaction. Last year, the actress had launched her own beauty line on Nykaa – ‘Kay Beauty’. “I was familiar with the company’s growing brand equity and market leadership and becoming an investor is the next logical step in sharing the Nykaa vision,” said Katrina Kaif in a statement.

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Kajal Aggarwal

Kajal Aggarwal
Kajal Aggarwal/Facebook

South Indian star Kajal Aggarwal recently picked up an equity stake in gaming platform Okie Gaming. Aggarwal’s was a strategic investment and she will be helping the startup in its promotions, marketing and PR and to attract new users to the platform. “While I was associated with Okie Ventures, I felt their gaming platform had a very immersive experience. I’m very happy about the fact that the games are going to be centered around mythology, folklore and Indian culture. This gives a very different and unique experience to the users,” Aggarwal told Business Insider in an interview.

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Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
BCCL

Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan had made her debut as an angel investor along with her mother Vrinda in 2019. They invested in Ambee, an environmental intelligence startup, which monitors air quality with data has already installed over 100 sensors in Bengaluru.

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Malaika Arora

Malaika Arora
Malaika Arora

Malaika Arora has been a part of the startup club since 2012. This fashionista has been involved with online premium retail startup – The Label Life, which offers high-end clothing, accessories and home decor and also features works of India’s top designers. In May 2019, Arora joined global stars like Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez to invest in an Indian yoga fitness chain startup, Sarva.

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Priyanka Chopra Jonas

Priyanka Chopra Jonas
BCCL

Social networking and dating app Bumble is backed by actress and entrepreneur Priyanka Chopra Jonas. Chopra had invested in Bumble in 2018, after which the startup had forayed into India.

While Bumble’s parent company MagicLabs was acquired by US-based Blackstone, it isn’t confirmed whether Chopra’s stake was bought out. Instead Chopra continues to be involved with Bumble for their branding assignments.

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Shilpa Shetty

Shilpa Shetty
Shilpa Shetty/Facebook

Actor, yogi and entrepreneur Shilpa Shetty had invested ₹1.6 crore in the FMCG startup Mamaearth. Mamaearth produces and sells skincare, haircare and babycare products. It was founded by Varun and Ghazal Alagh in 2015.

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