How Celebrity Investment is Influencing the Startup Industry

The Indian startup industry is experiencing unprecedented growth, fuelled by a combination of factors such as increased access to capital, a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem, and government initiatives promoting innovation. According to recent reports, India is home to over 60,000 startups, with the number of unicorns reaching an impressive 100 milestone. With venture capital investments exceeding $11 billion in 2023 alone, the Indian startup landscape continues to attract global attention and investment, positioning the country as a major player in the global tech scene.


Why celebrities are important for startups?

Celebrities possess a unique power to capture public attention. Their endorsement can turn obscure brands into overnight sensations and catapult startups into the spotlight. When a celebrity invests in a startup, it validates the company’s concept and can generate a considerable buzz. Whether it’s through social media posts, interviews, or public appearances, celebrities have the ability to amplify a startup’s message and reach a broader audience than traditional marketing channels.


Celeb backed startups that became unicorn


  • Upstox
Investor:- Sikhar Dhawan

Upstox is an investment platform. The company is certified with the market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). Cricketer Shikhar Dhawan invested in Upstox in 2022. The company achieved the unicorn status in November 2021 after it raised USD 25 million at a valuation of over USD 3 billion.


  • MPL
Investor:- Virat Kohli


Mobile Premier League (MPL) is an online gaming platform, founded in 2018. In 2019, cricketer Virat Kohli invested in a Bengaluru-based startup Galactus Funware Technology Pvt Ltd. It was reported that he entered into a 10-year agreement with the start-up that owns MPL.

After raising USD 150 million at a valuation of USD 2.3 billion in September 2021, MPL marked its entry into the unicorn club.

  • Cars24
Investor:- MS dhoni


Cars24 was founded in 2015, It deals in the sale, purchase and financing of pre-owned cars. In 2019, the company had announced a strategic partnership with cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni. It was announced that Dhoni will own equity in Cars24 and will act as the company’s brand ambassador. In November 2020, Cars24 raised USD 200 million at a valuation of more than USD 1 billion and achieved the unicorn status.


How celebrities are influencing startup industry?


  • Boosting brand awareness:  A celebrity’s endorsement can be a goldmine for startups. Their fame instantly puts the company in the spotlight, reaching a vast audience who may not have heard of them before.  This can be a massive advantage in a competitive market.


  • Beyond Money:- Celebrities bring more to the table than just cash. Their networks can open doors for startups, connecting them with potential partners, investors, and customers. Additionally, some celebrities may offer strategic advice or even become brand ambassadors.


  • Trendsetting:- Celebrities have the power to influence consumer trends and preferences. Their investment in a particular startup can signal emerging trends and attract interest from consumers seeking to emulate their idols.


  • Credibility and trust:- Fans often like to follow in the footsteps of actors, footballers, musicians, and other renowned industry names, and celebrity endorsements are one way to do it. It plays a crucial role in increasing the credibility and trust of consumer products. The inherent trust leads to increased consumer confidence, thereby, bolstering the startup’s reputation.


  • Long term partnerships:- Celebrity investors can offer more than just financial support; they may become long-term partners, providing ongoing guidance, endorsement, and strategic input to help the startup succeed.



Celebrity investment has become a game-changer for India’s booming startup scene. Their star power goes beyond funding, acting as a potential marketing tool and opening doors to partnerships.  Celebrities can also offer valuable industry expertise and shape consumer trends, fostering trust and attracting new customers. As this synergy continues, celebrity investors will remain a key driver of innovation and growth in the Indian startup landscape.