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Starry Business: Celebrity Led Announcements That Got Our Attention Over the last five years especially, the number of brand endorsements by celebrities from Bollywood, primarily enmeshed with the start-up culture coupled with their investments in companies have dominated the news.

By Kabir Singh Bhandari

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Photo by Kyle Head on Unsplash

Over the last five years especially, the number of brand endorsements by celebrities from Bollywood, primarily enmeshed with the start-up culture coupled with their investments in companies have dominated the news. Names which figure the regularly in this list are the two Shetty's- Shilpa and Suniel. While Shilpa Shetty is very active in the D2C scene, Suniel Shetty has involved himself in so many brands that one can't remember all their names- from the Waayu app to several health products and more.

Here is a list of some of the most talked about celebrity related entrepreneurship ventures that got our attention this year and in late 2022, along with what the actor had to say about it.

1. Actor Sanjay Dutt has launched The Glenwalk in India, a blended hard-beverage which is produced in Scotland.

Other than Dutt, Cartel and Bros, the company that owns The Glenwalk, has four other partners- Manesh Sani and Mokksh Sani of Living Liquidz, one of the largest liquor retail chains in India; Jittin S. Merani of Drinq bar academy; and Rohan Nihalani, the owner of Morgan Beverages.

"Glen Walk is a Scotch whiskey. Mokksh had been working on it for many months now and he's like a brother to me. We've always discussed how we can get together and do something. So one evening he came to me with this idea and it seemed awesome. It's a lovely Scotch with the right pricing and is not very expensive so even a normal person can really enjoy it. This is just the first, I shall be doing many more," Dutt told us during an interview.

2. Bhumi Pednekar joined hands with Mumbai based Chrome Asia Hospitality to invest in the group's first boutique hotel in Goa. Founded by Pawan Shahri, Dhaval Udeshi and Nikita Shahri, Chrome Hospitality has established a strong foothold in Mumbai's all day casual-dining space. The brand scaled exponentially in 2022 and went on to develop 1,00,000 sq ft of hospitality space in India and launched five new restaurants in Mumbai under the Chrome Hospitality umbrella. With KAIA, Chrome Asia Hospitality will embark on a new journey in the hotel space.

Bhumi Pednekar, said, "As an actor, I have always sought to explore new avenues, even beyond the silver screen. I strongly believe in the power of investments. I place my faith in investing in spaces that create meaningful experiences and KAIA has the power to do just that. Investing in KAIA is a venture that not only aligns with my passion for living life to the fullest, creating unforgettable experiences but also reflects my commitment for responsible hospitality and philosophy of slow living. With this investment, we aspire to curate a haven that combines luxury, comfort, warmth and cultural immersion. This venture represents my belief in the transformative power of responsible hospitality, where every stay becomes an opportunity for personal growth and meaningful connections."

3. Shilpa Shetty Kundra invested in the omni-channel 'Farm-To-Fork' start-up 'KisanKonnect'

Speaking on the partnership, Shilpa said, "I believe in the idea of a fit and healthy India, and I personally practice and promote this thought wherever possible. I love that the founders of KisanKonnect share the same passion towards this thought. Not only are they solving the problem of safe to eat food, but they are also connecting thousands of farmers directly to the consumers, resonating with my thoughts about promoting health in my country, where agriculture is one of the major occupations. Hence I've decided to partner with KisanKonnect who work on soil health, crop health and have created an amazing tech enabled supply chain. We do our every bit to protect the nutrition in the fruits and vegetables. Consumers can finally trace and trust their food source on the KisanKonnect App. Our 'Farm Stores' also connect with consumers."

4. Katrina Kaif teamed up with Sequoia-backed health And wellness platform Hyugalife. Hyugalife is the brainchild of ex-Nykaa CFO Sachin Parikh, and co-founders Anvi Shah (ex-Unilever) and Neehar Modi (ex-Amazon).

Speaking about the partnership, Katrina said, "I am firm believer that fitness isn't simply about working out or just having a nutritious diet, it's a way of life. With an aim at promoting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, Hyugalife is offering high-quality, authentic products at our fingertips. I look forward to working with the team to help bring their vision of a healthier and happier India to life."

5. Shilpa Shetty Kundra invested INR 2.25 crore In Shark Tank fame, D2C Start-up, WickedGud. The Mumbai-based company, 100Percent Nourishment Pvt Ltd, which markets healthy indulgent food products under the WickedGud brand, has raised INR 2.25 Crore from Shetty.

This latest investment from Shetty, a serial start-up investor known for her healthy lifestyle advocacy, follows previous funding from Titan Capital, Mumbai Angels, NB Ventures, Dholakia Ventures, Venture Catalyst, and other marquee founder angels including boAt co-founder Aman Gupta.

Shilpa had said, "We're a family of food-lovers and are always looking for opportunities in the better-for-you indulgent food space. I tried the WickedGud Spaghetti and was not only impressed by the taste and health benefits, but also the fact that my kids loved it too. Grown ups liking it is one thing but when my kids lapped it up, I was sold on the idea. This inspired me to not only endorse the brand but also invest in it. I am excited to support WickedGud in their mission to unjunk India, one kitchen at a time."

6. RENÉE Cosmetics raised $25 Million in Series B funding led by Evolvence India. Aashka Goradia Goble, Co-Founder and Director at RENÉE, had said, "With our upcoming product portfolio, we want to unveil everyone's innate layer of beauty. We want RENÉE to be a part of every individual's journey towards loving themselves more and celebrating their beauty." Priyank Shah, Co-Founder and Director at RENÉE, concluded, "We want to extend and strengthen our presence more in-depth and steer RENÉE towards becoming a globally recognized Indian makeup brand that is relatable and accessible to all irrespective of the geographical location."

7. D2C omnichannel Ayurveda brand, The Ayurveda Co. (T.A.C.) has launched its Series A Funding round with actor Kajal Aggarwal as the first investor in this round. Having delivered growth with its first (seed) round led by Azim Premji's Wipro Consumer Care Ventures & HNIs, T.A.C is now raising Series A of $15mn starting with Kajal's investment, making her a long-term partner in T.A.C's growth journey.

Talking about the relationship she shares with T.A.C, Aggarwal explained her journey of discovering the brand. "When I was expecting my son, Neil, like most mothers-to-be, I wanted only the safest, purest and natural things for my baby, right from his clothes to his everyday care products. That's when I learned about T.A.C.'s Dashapushpadi range and tried it on myself before using it on him. The brand stands out because of its honest, ethical and hand-picked Ayurvedic formulations. I truly believe that Ayurveda holds the power to transform this world, making it a better, kinder place, which is why I joined T.A.C.'s mission to heal the world with Ayurveda."

8. Tata CLiQ Luxury, the luxury lifestyle platform, partnered with interior expert and designer Gauri Khan to launch her brand Gauri Khan Designs, exclusively available on the platform.

Speaking about this partnership, interior designer and producer, Gauri Khan said, "Tata CLiQ Luxury is India's leading luxury lifestyle platform that offers an engaging and elevated online shopping experience for customers. Through this partnership, Gauri Khan Designs will now be able to reach and be accessible to consumers across the country who are looking at revamping their spaces. We look forward to a fruitful partnership."

Tata CLiQ Luxury offers premium and luxury brands across a range of categories, including accessories, apparel, beauty and fragrances, fashion, gourmet, handbags, home, sneakers and footwear, stationery and watches.

9. The superfood brand Pintola announced its collaboration with Indian cricketer Suryakumar Yadav to endorse its exclusive range of nut butter and rice cake across platforms. This is the second time in a row that Surya has become the brand ambassador.

Speaking about the association, Suryakumar Yadav, said, "I am pleased to continue my collaboration with Pintola which has a strong commitment towards offering healthy food choices for consumers. I feel India is already on a journey to becoming a healthier nation which is much more conscious towards a healthier lifestyle. Through this partnership, I hope we can reiterate the importance of healthy and rich food habits, something I firmly believe in."

Pintola is a home-grown brand which launched in 2012. Today, it offers the widest array of nut butter including peanut, cashew, almond and triyogam extended to rice cakes and chikkis.

10. Ishaan Khatter and Tara Sutaria became brand ambassadors Nature 4 Nature, which is film producer Anand Pandit and Yash Birla Ventures newly launched brand. The brand was launched with an objective to share the message of love and compassion by offering consumers with 100% natural products.

Speaking about the association with the brand, Ishaan said, "I'm overjoyed to be associated with Nature 4 Nature - not only for their qualitative and diverse range of products but for the larger vision behind them. They're leading the way in India by manufacturing their products in a 100% natural, sustainable way and I'm proud to be associated with them in this path breaking effort."

"Nature 4 Nature is based on the concept of sustainability and love for nature. This motivated me to become involved with the brand that is not only 100% natural but also works towards a plastic-free environment," said Tara.

11. D2C beauty and wellness brand WOW Skin Science in their on-going attempt of bringing consumers closer to nature through novel products in the personal care and wellness space has announced actors Kartik Aaryan and Rashmika Mandanna as the new face of WOW Hair care range.

Excited to be working with the brand WOW Skin Science, actor Kartik Aaryan said, "Personally, I'm a strong believer and advocate of natural products and hence the proposition of WOW Skin Science really resonated with me. I am really thrilled to be associated with the brand and be a part of its journey because as an actor I think of the audiences first, this brand does the same - puts people first."

Actor Rashmika Mandanna spoke about her association with WOW Skin Science, "I am excited to be a part of the WOW family. The brand is known to be chemical free, nature inspired and most importantly, Eco-friendly - a philosophy that is very close to my heart. I'm excited to work with a brand like WOW Skin Science, which makes haircare a truly WOW experience!''

12. "Everything that any other boy in the restaurant did, I had to go through. Whether it was in the kitchen, managing the floor, helping to clean the place or seeing the customers off. I would take all the brick bats that were thrown at me when a customer was drunk and didn't like something and take every shot on me when it came to the food not being right. So I think everything that that a young man needs to go through in the food and beverage industry my father made me experience," Suniel Shetty told us at an event where he was announced as the brand ambassador of food delivery app Waayu.

13. Klassroom Edutech, a Mumbai-based hybrid tutoring education startup, raised investment from Bollywood actor-turned-investor Suniel Shetty. Since its inception in 2016, Klassroom Edutech has attracted substantial investments from the ah! Ventures Angel Fund, Hem Angels, Pavan Bakeri (managing director, BakeriGroup), Kishore Ganji (founder, Astir Ventures) among others, claimed a total of $1 million in funding.

Commenting on his new venture, Suniel Shetty said that, "I'm delighted to be a part of Klassroom, as they're making a real impact by implementing the NEP 2020's innovative teaching methods. Together, let's empower the next generation with a joyful learning experience."

Kabir Singh Bhandari

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Senior Assistant Editor

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