ⓘ Featured image: A file-photo of Virat Kohli with wife Anushka Sharma; Credits: STR/AFP via Getty Images
Bengaluru, India-based fashion startup Universal Sportsbiz, on Saturday, 17 October 2020 announced that the company has raised $2.6 million in an investment round led by Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli, who has invested $1.8 million and the rest of the funding amount was catered by Cornerstone Sport LLP, a sports talent management firm that also represents Kohli. The news flashed first on Inc42.
Universal Sportsbiz was founded in 2012 by Anjana Reddy, and until now has partnered with a number of sports and movie stars to create apparel brands. The company had previously also co-created the fashion brand Wrogn which is also represented by Virat Kohli. Besides this, the company has also associated with Bollywood’s Kareena Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor for ‘Imara’, Kriti Sanon for ‘Ms Taken’, and Ranbir Kapoor for ‘Single’.
The company previously also raised an undisclosed amount of investment from the legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. In 2018, US-based Accel Partners invested $13.5 million in a Series E round for Universal Sportsbiz.
Kohli’s interest in startups is not new, in 2014, he invested an undisclosed amount in the London-based social media startup Sport Convo, a startup that bridges the gap between sports stars and fans. In February this year, Virat along with his wife Anushka Sharma and Cornerstone Sport LLP, invested around $340K in the insurtech startup Digit Insurance.
For the past few years, India is witnessing a boom in the celebrity-interest in the startup ecosystem. On Thursday, India’ former cricket team captain Kapil Dev invested in Harmonizer India, a deeptech startup that develops energy-efficient solutions. Last week, India’s former test cricket captain and current team India coach, Ravi Shastri launched his male grooming brand 23 Yards. Besides this, last month Sachin Tendulkar joined Paytm First Games as the brand ambassador. In July, Bollywood duo Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia D’Souza launched their plant-based meat venture called Imagine Meats.