We have witnessed a chain of unexpected occurences in 2020, and even elite cricket players in India had to keep themselves busy in other ways when their training was interrupted. We saw Indian cricketers deepen their interest in technology and business as they connected with their fanbase in different ways.
The cricketers invested in startup companies as well as growth stage companies that were already backed by Venture Capitalists.
Cricket players like Yuvraj Singh, ViratKohli, and Mahendra Singh threw themselves behind the latest entrepreneurs of 2020. They invested in ventures like dukaantech and healthtech startups among others like Digit Insurance, Sarva Yoga, and Khatabook. These ventures are in different niches across the economy.
Ravi Shastri, a coach and commentator went into male hygiene and grooming with 23 yards, which is a private label that he launched in a partnership with AdorMultiproducts, a Mumbai company that will be producing hand sanitizer and grooming products for men aged 25-40.
Startups appeared prominently in the Indian Premier League as sponsors as well as appeared as brand associations. This gave the startups a stronger connection to Indian cricket.
Here are some cricket stars and what they were up to in business:
We don’t know exactly how much the Indian cricket test vice captain invested in MeraKisan, but the cricket star is now an in vestor in the agritech company as well as a brand ambassador.
MeraKisan is backed by the Mahindra Group and founded in 2016. The company works with organic farmers to achieve certification, provide technical support and produce high quality organic food.
Rahane is also working with ELSA Corp as the global ambassador for their edtech products.
GautamGambhir is best known for cricket and politics, but he is now solidifying his portfolio of investments. Gambhir put an undisclosed amount of money in healthtech company FYI health. FYI is working to help offices reopen safely after the Coronavirus pandemic.
FYI provides education to employees as well as provide health checkups on the daily.
HarshaBhogle is not a cricket player, but his popularity is at par with many popular Indian cricketers. He is diversifying his investment portfolio with a cash injection into Fantasy Akhada, a fantasy sports game.
Bhogle will be the public face of Fantasy Khada for the next two years.
AmitPurohit founded Fantasy Akhada in 2020. The platform provides players with a range of gameplay options. Bhogle’s addition to the brand has attracted an additional 1 lakh customers to the platform.
Bhogle has also invested in Chqbook, a Gurugram finance marketplace for bringing together borrowers and lenders.
KapilDev, a former India Captain and a winner in the World Cup has a diversified portfolio of investments. Dev has sunk some of his own money into Harmonizer India, a deeptech startup.
Harmonizer is a product that was founded in 2019 to help enterprises better manage their power usage using Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence solutions.
Dev has interests in other startups like PeopleEasy which is an online supermarket, Samco Ventures (fintech), VAOO, and WizCounsel.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Former India Captain, or ‘Captain Cool’ as he is better known, Mahendra Singh Dhonialready has an impressive investment portfolio.
In 2020, Dhoni invested in Khatabook, a business ledger app company based in Bengaluru. Dhoni serves as the brand ambassador as well.
Launched in 2018, Khatabook has already succeeded in raising $87million in capital from investors like Sequioa Capital Surge, Falcon Edge Capital, DST Global, Capital Group, Better Capital, Tencent Holdings, and angel investors like RohitBansal and Kunal Shah.
In 2019, Dhoni put money into Cars24, an online car bazaar that achieved unicorn status in 2020.
Singh was a fast bowler for the Indian team and he has now invested in a sports technology company called SportsUno.
He now serves as a board member for the startup which provides sports companies with technical support, specializing in cricket, badminton, football, basketball, and table tennis.
ShikharDhawanhas thrown his weight, and his money, behind Sarva, a fitness startup based on yoga.
Sarva is a yoga studio chain founded by SarveshShashi in 2020 and which has attracted funding from individuals like mark Mastrov and David Giampaolo as well as Hollywood star Jennifer Lopez, AishwaryaRai, Mira Kapoor, Alex Rodriquez, and MalaikaArora.
SouravGanguly is an former India Captain as well as the president of the Board for Control for Cricket in India.
Ganguly invested in ClassPlus, an edtech startup and he doubled up ass the brand ambassador for the company.
MukulRustagi and BhaswatAgarwal established the company in 2018, as a Delhi based startup that provided tuition centers, private tutors, and coaches with mobile-first software to set online teaching.
Ganguly has also invested in Flickstree, a curated video platform based in Mumbai.
Kohli is a former captain of team India who has been passionate about investing in startup companies. In early 2020, Kohli invested in Digit Insurance which is an insurance tech company from Bengaluru.
Digit Insurance is the brainchild of PremWatsa and KameshGoyal who launched it in 2016. The company provides customers with cheaper, customized insurance policies for their travel, health, smartphone, auto, and commercial needs.
Kohli has also thrown his weight behind Universal Sportsbiz which is a fashion startup backed by Sachin Tendulkar. he had also invested in Sport Convo, a socialmeadia startup based in London.
Yuvraj Singh is not just a perennial winner in the game of cricket, but also a serial investor.
Yuvraj invested in Wellversed which is a healthcare startup focusing on nutrition.
Founders AananKhurma, RipunjayChachan, and Aditya Seth started WEllversed in 2018. The service provides users with thousands of health transformation plans that enable skin health, sexual health, weight loss, sexual health, and hair care.
Other companies that have enjoyed a capital injection from Yuvraj include YouWeCan, EazyDinner, Cartisan, JetSetGo, Healthians, and Buddy.