Deepika Padukone is a multitalented individual who has worked as an actor, producer, investor, entrepreneur, global brand ambassador, and will soon be presenting an award at the Academy Awards. Padukone, who has established herself as one of the most sought-after personalities in Bollywood and now all over the world, has been steadily expanding her commercial portfolio over the course of the past few years.

In 2014, she established KA Enterprises as a family office, and she started making investments in new businesses not long after that. Epigamia, Furlenco, Blu Smart, Bellatrix, Atomberg Technologies, Front Row, Mokobara, Supertails, Nua, and a number of other companies are examples of her important bets. In certain situations, such as with Epigamia and Nua, for example, the actor has also doubled up as an investor and a marketing ambassador for the company.

Padukone’s unlisted, public, and fixed income investments are all managed by Jigar K. Shah, a former venture capitalist who has worked as a fund manager at KA Enterprises since 2020. In an interview that was conducted exclusively for Business Today, he stated, “We run KA Enterprises like a conventional venture business.” When it comes to making decisions, DP relies more on his instincts than anything else. On the other hand, the majority of the meetings that concern business models, channel checks, and due diligence are ones that I run. She is KA’s beating heart, and I am KA’s calculating mind.”

According to Shah, KA Enterprises is on par with any “decent-sized early-stage fund” in India, with average check amounts ranging between 3 crore and 5 crore Indian Rupees. When it comes to the investment thesis, though, everything “depends on the differentiated value proposition the company is giving, moats that are defensible… “Before providing cash, we also consider the team and how well they can carry out the plan,” he explains.

According to Shah, “Beauty and Personal Care brands started reaching out to us in an effort to get Deepika on board — either as a brand ambassador or at some promotional event.” But, she has always had the ambition to launch her own brand. As a result, we investigated everything from BPC startups still in the idea stage to major enterprises backed by venture capital all the way up to established brands. Yet, we did not believe that the stakes that they were proposing were sufficient. DP desired to have a greater influence and control over the direction the brand narrative took.

As a result, a company called 82°E, or “Eighty Two East,” came into being. This company markets its products as combining Ayurveda with scientific research. In December, it successfully completed a seed round that brought in $7.5 million and was led by DSG Consumer Partners and IDEO Ventures. KA Enterprises and numerous other ultra-high net worth people also participated in the funding of this round (UHNIs). Padukone stated in a statement that she is “honoured” to have investors of global renown join them in their vision to develop 82°E as a new self-care brand born in India for the world. “I am honoured to have investors of global repute join us in our vision,” she said.

82°E has opened its own own research and development laboratory in Bengaluru, and its target demographic is urban “women on the go” in the age range of 25-35. According to Shah, “few few BPC firms in India have their own R&D labs,” and he continues, “We wanted to offer a product that is clean, vegan, and high on quality.” At the laboratory, not only are new formulations developed, but also clinical and dermatological studies are carried out.

Padukone is rumoured to be a “hands-on” businesswoman, despite the fact that she has a very full schedule. “DP participates in every formulation trial and applies each product to her skin before she gives us the go-ahead,” explains Shah. “She is highly involved in the process.”

82°E now has four products available for purchase, however the company is releasing new products on a regular basis. In response to complaints that the prices of the items are too high, Shah says, “We are clearly more expensive than those selling at 500 dollars a pop, but we are less than median when it comes to the global skincare industry.” Also, we have noticed promising traction from Tier 2 and Tier 3 locations, where people are looking for quality and aspirational products.

Although this is DPKA Universal Consumer Ventures’ first entry into the market, and it seems to be off to a good start, there is a possibility that it won’t be their last. Harish Bijoor, a brand consultant, was recently quoted in Business Today discussing the growing trend of Bollywood actors turning into investors and entrepreneurs. He said, “Celebs from cinema and cricket, who are entering businesses by lending their names, are contributing to glamour equity, which sometimes has a higher valuation than the cash equity they put in…” This statement is a good summary of the trend.

“We are living in the era of startups, and celebs don’t want the ship to sail,” he added. “We are living in the era of startups.”

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