Kukua, a Nairobi and London-based educational entertainment company and the creators of “Super Sema,” the first African animated superhero franchise, has raised $6 million in its latest round of investment.

The round was co-led by Tencent and Italy-based VC Alchimia. Other investors include EchoVC, Firstminute Capital and Auxxo Female Catalyst. Kukua will use the investment to support its goal to continue building an IP-centric kids’ “edutainment” universe with new Super Sema original content, licensing, merchandise and publishing offerings.

Founded in 2018 by Lucrezia Bisignani, Kukua is an entertainment and technology platform that creates magical learning experiences for children and families, centred around a universe of proprietary characters. The startup created the Super Sema franchise, brought to life through animated series, apps and toys. The company raised $2.5 million seed from Africa-focused venture capital firm EchoVC and other investors that year. This takes the total funding raised by the startup to $8.5 million.

Speaking with Techcrunch, Bisignani stated that although she founded the company in 2018, it wasn’t until three years later that the team put out the first version of Super Sema.

“When I started this, we saw there were no African characters, and very few that were just Black,” she said. So, we thought this was a much-needed space, not only for kids in Africa but globally. It’s for kids to feel represented and to grow up with cartoons that are not only white but also to understand different cultures and themes.”

Super Sema is the story of a 10-year-old African girl — a superhero — with the powers of creativity, determination and team skills. She uses science, tech, engineering, arts and math to create inventions from her secret lab to fight this evil robot villain — her town’s ruler — and his minions.

Bisignani said the show was made to “empower” a generation of kids to have positive female African role models and “inspire” them with team skills by making a fun, exciting series that creates an avenue for STEAM learning.

According to Bisignani, Kukua has some methods to make the show more interactive in its pipeline. Immediate plans include launching a U.S. toy line in the fall with toy company Just Play and “Let’s Technovate with Super Sema,” a companion vlog series with real science and DIY experiments children can do at home scheduled to premiere in 2022. Kukua also plans to expand Super Sema’s North American Publishing and Licensing program with the signing of Penguin Random House, Bendon and Bentex, category leaders in publishing and apparel.

To this effect, the company appointed Matthew Ball — a venture partner at Makers Fund, the world’s largest gaming venture fund by AUM — to its board. The company said Ball’s support will be critical as it expands its Super Sema IP and story world into interactive and immersive educational experiences for kids.

Speaking on the investment, Paolo Barletta, partner at Alchimia, said, “Kukua is one of those companies in the world that everyone wants to see succeed. We have been part of their growth journey from the first day and are thrilled to continue to support their world-class team, inspired by the positive impact we can have on an entire generation of kids.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.