When Tapan Kumar Das & Ryan Fernando launched a start-up three years ago, they found an unlikely investor in the form of Robin Uthappa. With a novel concept and financial backing, iTiffin started tiffin services in Bengaluru and in the process also started a trend of cricketers becoming angel investors. (Virat Kohli to Co-Own International Premier Tennis League Team UAE Royals)
Being an Angel Investor isn't difficult. All you need is money and an eye to identify a good business plan. And if it all goes well, you can expect good returns in the form of Equity or/and annual profits. A lot of it comes from believing in the idea on which the start-up is based.
Uthappa explains, "We are investing into what we believe in and this is what we probably want to do after we finish playing. By the Grace of God, some of us are blessed with a few excesses which we can invest into our passions beside the sport."
But having these cricketers on board is a blessing or are they just silent investors? The Co-Founder of iTiffin Tapan Kumar Das says that the core management team which includes Robin meets every month for brainstorming sessions, "He brings a lot of experience from his travel and that information helps us think differently."
Another example of a cricketer bitten by the start-up bug is Umesh Yadav. The Indian speedster recently invested in a Kolkata based fashion portal called Fashionove. The Co-founder Tanushree Khandelwal was surprised with Umesh's business knowledge, "he is quite aware of the start-up ecosystem & how fashion industry is booming so it wasn't very difficult to convince him."
But the cricketer who leads this cricket-startup integration is Yuvraj Singh. Known for his firebrand style of cricket, the 33-year-old is already a big name in the Indian start-up market. His business company Youwecan Ventures funds a variety of start-ups including companies for car servicing, beauty products, education & even restaurants.
Image Consultant Dilip Cherian feels that entrepreneurship is like a new religion in the country & everyone wants to be a part of it. He says, "if everyone is doing it then the cricketers too see themselves as wanting to be a part of it."
Once viewed only as brand ambassadors, the Indian cricketer is clearly evolving. He is moving from scoresheets to balance sheets with ease & in the process also ensuring a better and secured life post retirement.