DSG Consumer Partners invests in Furtados School of Music

Private investment firm DSG Consumer Partners (DSGCP) has infused an undisclosed amount in Furtados School of Music (FSM Education Private Limited), in the Series A funding of the Mumbai-based music academy.

The company FSM Education Private Limited Education Private Limited, was started in July 2011 by Dharini Upadhyaya and Tanuja Gomes, who are both former investment bankers. It was initially funded by Furtados Music, a retail music store headquartered in Mumbai and a key player in musical instruments business in India. The first Furtados music store was established in 1865.

“We plan to deploy the funds that we have raised within the next two years. We are putting our strategic plan in place in terms of which cities to enter, which schools to approach, etc. We are also building a training academy with 1,000 educationists who will be teaching music across schools and our own centres,” Gomes told VCCircle.

She said the firm became cash positive in March 2013.

The academy basically provides music education to students of K12 schools, either by conducting classes in the school or through their own centres. It is working in collaboration with four schools and has eight independent centres at present.

Upadhyaya explained that of the eight properties at present, two are leased centres and six are in partnership with the landowners where the land lords get a percentage share of the tuition fee charged from each student of FSM Education Private Limited.

"We have 2,500 students enrolled at present and we charge an annualised fee of Rs 12,000-Rs 15,000 from the students who come to our centres. This fee might vary as different students learn different instruments.""

Praveen Chakravarty, an advisor on the board of DSGCP and co-founder at Mumbai Angels said, “The potential in this industry is huge and eventually FSM Education Private Limited has the capacity to cater to 500 schools in the long term.”

The founders acknowledge that it is a capital intensive business as the music instruments are expensive but the company plans to be asset light in its approach. “We partner with schools which can give us their instruments. We also have access to the best instruments through the retail company Furtado Music,” said Gomes.

Deepak Shahdadpuri, managing director, DSG Partners Asia Pte Ltd said that Asian cities have at least 4-5 branded music schools and music education is taken seriously in these geographies.

“India lacks such brands. This could be a great branded music academy in the country,” he said.

DSGCP, which focuses on early stage consumer businesses in Asia, including India, invests between $1 million and $10 million in companies with an investment horizon of 6 to 10 years. It has done some 10 deals till now of which one is in retail, six are food companies and the rest three are non-food consumer firms.

Last month, it invested $1.6 million in Saraf Foods Ltd, a Vadodara-based freeze dried agricultural products company. It recently also invested in Kerala-based Tierra Food India.

Its other investments include cheese maker Exito Gourmet Pvt Ltd and India's largest winemaker Nashik Vintners. Its portfolio also includes Bakers Circle, Indian Home Gourmet, Saffronart, Cleartrip, Salt Water Café and Smoke House Restaurants.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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