Bollywood actor and producer Suniel Shetty has invested an undisclosed amount in Pune-based fitness and nutrition startup Squats, the company said in a statement on Friday.
The company will use the investment to enhance its underlying technological framework, strengthen its team and expand its pan-India operations, the statement added.
Run by Squats Fitness Pvt. Ltd, the venture is an online fitness coaching platform founded in 2016 by Jitendra Chouksey, a software engineer and ISSA-certified sports nutrition specialist. It offers users information around fitness and nutrition. Chouksey started the venture as a WhatsApp group and then in 2015 created a Facebook community where he answered queries around fitness and grew the platform into a standalone venture since 2016. Since that time, the company claims to have generated cumulative revenues worth $8.5 million without any external marketing or advertising.
Currently, Squats runs a mobile app called Fittr, which has over two lakh downloads, where users can avail of fitness-related information. The venture claims to have a membership base of over five lakh members.
“In today’s time, when all kinds of false information about fitness is common, there is a critical need for companies like Squats, which address the issues of trust and credibility in the Indian fitness space, focusing on ‘balancing quantified nutrition with weight training’ and delivering exceptional results,” Shetty said in the statement.
For the financial year 2016-17, Squats posted revenues of Rs 7.2 crore with 7% EBITDA margin, VCCEdge, the data research platform of Mosaic Digital, showed.
The investment by Shetty is the latest example of celebrities funding startups and ventures across sectors. Last week, the Zorba Renaissance Private Limited-run Sarva said it had raised its first round of external funding from a batch of investors, including pop star Jennifer Lopez and her fiancé, Alex Rodriguez. Bollywood actor Malaika Arora also invested in the company.
Other examples include Amitabh Bachchan, who has invested in local search service platform Just Dial Limited and Priyanka Chopra, who has funded networking and dating app Bumble, run by Bumble Trading Inc.
Last year, VCCircle trawled through its in-house data analytics platform VCCEdge as well as numerous media reports and came up with at least 32 celebrities who have reportedly invested in as many as 67 startups and other companies.