Swashbuckling West Indian cricketer Chris Gayle has picked up a minority stake in Bangalore-based augmented reality venture FlippAR in lieu of endorsing the brand, its founder Vivek Jain told VCCircle.
The development comes merely two months after Gayle's debut investment in the Indian startup ecosystem, wherein he backed Bangalore-based virtual gaming firm IONA Entertainment.
FlippAR, run by Movingup Products Pvt. Ltd, has a subscription-based revenue model. Using the FlippAR app, visitors to Bangalore's popular tourist spots such as Lal Bagh, Cubbon Park and MG Road can unlock stories from buildings, monuments and statues. One can also use FlippAR to tag one's memories to real-world objects, whether it's a t-shirt or a bottle of beer.
“Our customers fall in the 16-24 age bracket... We will be launching a couple of campaigns where Gayle will feature,” Jain said.
Jain, who holds a master’s in computer applications from Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli, launched the startup in January 2016. He had previously co-founded a services outsourcing startup.
FlippAR currently has a team of six employees. It competes with the likes of London-based heavily-funded visual discovery app Blippar.
The startup is accelerated by France-based accelerator programme NUMA . It also got a grant of Rs 5 lakh from the Karnataka government in March. The state government had selected eight startups for grants ranging between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 50 lakh as part of its multi-sectoral startup policy.
Gayle is not the first cricketer to have evinced interest in backing Indian startups. Cricketer Yuvraj Singh has been investing actively through his fund YouWeCan Ventures. In April, Singh put an undisclosed amount in Gurgaon-based Startup Buddy Services Pvt. Ltd, a one-stop solution provider for early-stage businesses.
YouWeCan’s portfolio companies include online beauty services venture Vyomo, logistics startup Moovo, healthcare startup Healthians, online marketplace for chartered jets JetSetGo, automotive service marketplace Cartisan and sports startup SportyBeans.