As a cricketer, we start living a focused life very quickly. Most of our focus is on just and only playing cricket, but it is due to this cricket that I got a chance to meet new people, travel and hear about the interesting business that people started from a very small level. It is said that the Indian cricket team’s vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, whose first love is cricket, but he has also invested in two startups last year.
Ajinkya Rahane had invested in Mahle-backed MeraKisan, an agri-tech startup and Hudle, a digital platform for sports lovers. MeraKisan supplies farming related goods to farmers through retail stores as well as e-commerce platforms. On the other hand, through Hudle, you can find out the event of any game and also book a venue to play it.
When Rahane was asked why he decided to become an investor, his reply was that as a cricketer we get into a focused lifestyle at a very young age and most of our focus is on playing cricket continuously. During the time I played cricket, I got a chance to meet new people, travel and hear about many interesting businesses that people have started from very small levels.
He further said that but there is more to it. Planning for life after cricket is also important and that’s why at an early stage he wanted to partner with an interesting venture that has the potential to become a successful business in the future.
He said that then I had a conversation with my business partner Akhil Ranade and decided that we should start looking for such interesting opportunities where I can become a partner in some specific work. Akhil Ranade is a sports marketing professional who started his career with the sports marketing divisions of advertising giants O&M and DDB Mudra and also worked in the sports consulting division of IMG.
Although Rahane did not say how many shares he bought of these two startups, he did explain his investment mantra. Before investing in any venture, my first quest is whether I belong to the core business of that company and how I can contribute to that business. It is important for me to meet the founders of the company and get to know their vision for the company and their plans for what I can do as their brand ambassador.
Why did they decide to invest in these two firms? In response to this question, Rahane said that the investment in MeraKisan was due to my earlier inclination towards agriculture. I wanted to join a company that has the potential to be a sustainable and tall player in the sector.
Regarding Hudle, he said that he loves sports other than cricket, but it is difficult to find the right place to play these games. He said that whenever it happens, I try to play badminton, table tennis and football with my friends. I think everyone should play some sport and what Hudle does is that it makes it easier for non-professional amateur athletes and sports enthusiasts to find and book a place to play the game.
After MeraKisan and Hudle, Rahane is now looking at new categories as well. He said that there are some other areas that we have discussed, such as gaming, education, health technology, children’s nutrition and e-sports. I am looking for more opportunities in agriculture, but sports have a special place in Rahane’s investment portfolio.