Money-Wizards, an offline money and finance education provider, has secured undisclosed seed funding from Singapore-based Tenshi Peak Ventures.
Set up in July 2011 by IIM-Bangalore alumni Venkatesh Varadachari and Thillai Rajan, Money-Wizards is a brand of Chennai-based Pluto Education Pvt Ltd. The funding raised will be used to develop new content and set up business development initiatives outside the city.
“Money-Wizards ensures user-friendly financial literacy for all who need it. We focus on imparting world class money and finance education to people from all age groups and professions,” Venkatesh Varadachari, co-founder and director of Money-Wizards, told VCCircle. “We believe that this investment from such a group of high quality investors is a validation to our business model,” he added.
Money-Wizards offers finance courses and caters to diverse groups, including school and college students, working adults and corporate houses. It has already partnered with 15 schools in Chennai, Bangalore and Singapore.
“We also approach corporates and provide finance courses to employees. The course fees range from Rs 1,500 to Rs 11,000, depending on the segment and the type of content. We are a pure play company focusing on financial education and the business model is quite simple – people opting for our courses pay us. However, we don’t sell or push financial products,” added Varadachari.
The finance education startup is also eyeing developed economies like the US and Singapore for further growth. “India is one of our major markets, but we believe that our content is world class. The common man from any country can benefit from our courses,” said Varadachari.
The company has already rolled out a school programme in Singapore and sees demand for its content in the Middle East and South-east Asia.
Apart from a core management team of three people, the company employs several trainers and content designers. It plans to launch more school programmes shortly and looks to clock a minimum of $200,000 in the next academic year.
Of the co-founders, Varadachari has over 14 years of portfolio management experience in the Asia-Pacific region and worked with some of the largest and most successful global trading companies and hedge funds like Cargill, Black River Asset Management, Indea Capital and Millennium Partners.
The other co-founder Thillai Rajan is currently an associate professor in the department of Management Studies at IIT Madras. He has more than eight years of experience in leading corporations, such as IL&FS Investment Managers and Infosys Technologies.
Set up by Ramesh V. Raghavan and Uday Deshpande, Tenshi Peak Ventures is an angel investing and consulting platform that mentors passionate startup entrepreneurs and facilitate seed/early stage capital raising for startups. It also provides business reengineering, turnaround and restructuring advice for SMEs across the Asia Pacific region.
(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)