Bollywood actor Varun Dhawan has invested an unknown sum in the D2C nutraceutical startup Fast&Up. The 34-year-old actor was recently appointed as Good Vibes Officer, and the startup has also teamed with well-known table tennis player Sharath Kamal Achanta and boxer Pooja Rani.
The company, in a statement, said it seeks to expand its production capabilities and scale up internationally, as well as enter newer categories. It has been aggressively looking to invest in product research to drive the growth of a leading longevity-focused everyday nutrition brand, and it plans to penetrate into newer categories.
Venugopal, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Fast&Up commented on the development saying, “We are excited to welcome Varun to our Fast&Up family with his interest lying in the fitness sector. We have him as our Good Vibes Officer and love the energy he brings to the brand. We are very happy with this partnership being further strengthened with his investment in Fast&Up.”
The development came just over a week after Fullife Healthcare the parent firm of Fast&Up secured a $22 million Series C round of funding from Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia (MSPEA). It had earlier raised $6.6 million (~Rs 50 crore) from Amansa Capital’s Akash Prakash with participation from existing investors Sixth Sense Ventures and Rakesh Jhunjhunwala.
Fast&Up, founded in 2015 by Vijayaraghavan Venugopal and Varun Khanna, offers nutrition supplements and multivitamin drinks. It manufactures products for active living, which include nutrition & immunity, across multiple segments. Chicnutrix, Fullife’s other major brand, is a wellness, beauty, and nutrition brand focused exclusively on women.
The six-year-old start-up has attracted more than 100 million customers in just one month. It introduced 20 new products last year, resulting in a 100 percent increase in revenue over the previous fiscal year. Fast&Up has a presence across India, and its products are sold through an omnichannel structure that focuses on direct-to-consumer (D2C), marketplaces, including retail.
In similar news, Mosaic Wellness, a health and wellness platform, secured $1.25 million from Spring Marketing Capital earlier this month. Similarly, Mother Sparsh Baby Care, a direct-to-consumer (D2C) ayurvedic and natural personal care brand, raised Rs 20 crore (~$2.6 million) in funding last month from hotel-to-cigarette behemoth ITC Ltd.
Bollywood celebrities have made major investments in the startup ecosystem as an extension of their brand strategy. Actors Katrina Kaif and Alia Bhat, who invested in recently listed Nykaa (FSN E-Commerce Ventures), are experiencing a healthy increase in their investments in light of Nykaa’s spectacular IPO.
The nutraceutical industry has been rapidly expanding in the midst of the pandemic. According to ASSOCHAM, the nutraceuticals industry in India was worth $4 billion in 2017 and is likely to increase at a CAGR of 35 percent to $18 billion by 2026. The market opportunity can be defined by the fact that India is estimated to have a targeted base of 120 million health-conscious customers by next year, with over half of these originating from outside metros and tier 1 cities.