Bengaluru-based performing arts academy, Kafqa Academy announced that it has secured $1.3 million in pre-launch funding from leading institutional investors & tech entrepreneurs. Founded by Shariq Plasticwala, former director at Amazon India, Kafqa Academy aims to serve artists from their first step in the performing arts to their success on the largest stages in the world.
The funding round was led by Global Founders Capital (GFC) & saw participation from institutional investors such as Enzia Ventures & Better Capital. Angel investors who participated in the round include Kunal Shah, Founder & CEO of CRED; Ashish Hemrajani & Parikshit Dar, Founders of BookMyShow; Umang & Virendra Gupta, Founders of Josh and Daily Hunt; Vikram Chopra, Founder & CEO of Cars24; Kumar Aakash, SVP at Hotstar; and Alex Beygelman, SVP at Bukukas.
Kafqa Academy offers high-quality learning experiences which are accessible & convenient. The aim is to create a community of 50M active learners. For artists, the focus is to grow their earnings & experiences. The market opportunity is significant – performing arts learning consisting of dance, music, speech & drama, fine arts & cooking is worth $3B in India and is growing fast to reach $8-10B in 7 years. Furthermore, the academy is also looking to cater to the rising demand for Indian art forms from outside India, which coincides with the rise of India’s global stature in recent decades, with its cultural assets like arts, heritage and more, becoming a subject of aspiration and admiration by the global community.
Speaking on the announcement Shariq Plasticwala, Founder, Kafqa Academy, said, “Performing arts has been my passion for years now. We started Kafqa Academy with a mission to expand the learning of the performing arts & enable artists. We think of ourselves as an intersection of the arts & technology world. We have launched our online classes in dance, music and speech & drama. We are examining every part of the learning experience & innovating using technology to make it better for our students. We are excited by the feedback from our initial student base & look forward to serving millions of students through our fast-scaling platform.”
“We thank our investors who gave us their vote of confidence when we were pre-launch. The investment has allowed us to invest into technology & content development, thereby accelerating experience & growth,” he added.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on artists across the world as they heavily rely on human interactions for their income—through performances, classes or art showings and even as things return to normal with improved employment opportunities for artists and creative workers, the arts are recovering slower than other industries. Kafqa Academy aims to support these artists recovering from the impact of the pandemic by enabling them with infrastructure, technology & training to improve their earnings and experience.
The Academy focuses on outcome-based learning with performances and certification at the end of every course. Instructors at Kafqa Academy are hand-picked with a selection rate of <2% of all applications received. Additionally, Kafqa Academy trains instructors on delivering online classes & invests in their capability building. The Academy caters to the rising demand of performing arts by offering online classes with a structured curriculum leveraging technology to create simple trial, payment & credit experiences, offering revision & practice tools and digital performances. Live support is offered & a dedicated instructor success team focuses on identifying opportunities that make instructors successful.
Founder Shariq Plasticwala’s expertise and proven track record of building technology-enabled customer experience & marketplaces from the ground up and his experience with performing arts has attracted notable investment and strong talent to Kafqa Academy, leading to a unique mix of performing arts experts and technology talent with significant experience. The Kafqa Academy team has scaled fast to 100+ (includes 50 instructors) and comprises expert artists as instructors and ex-founders in product & technology roles.
With proprietary back-end infrastructure and database, standardised courses, performance opportunities for its learners, Kafqa Academy is poised to serve students & artists, reimagining the performing arts sector valued at around $3 Billion in India (expected to grow to $8-10 Billion by 2027) and $20 Billion+ globally (expected to grow to $40 Billion by 2027).