Kenya and London-based ‘edu-tainment’ company Kukua has raised $6 million in a Series A funding round. The Series A funding round was led by Chinese multinational conglomerate company Tencent and Italy-based venture capital Alchimia.
The funding round also received participation from Echo VC, Firstminiture Capital, and Auxxo Female Catalysts.
Kukua is an educational entertainment company and is the creator of Super Sema, Africa’s first animated superhero franchise. With the new funding, Kukua wants to fuel its goal of 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 educational entertainment company. The company put out the first version of Super Sema in 2021 and the idea to create an animated superhero franchise for kids, especially those living in Africa, stemmed from the unavailability of such shows. “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,” Kukua’s founder explained.
Although Kukua’s founder is a white woman, she is African at heart as she visited Africa a lot as a child and got the chance to see and appreciate various cultures and traditions that were different from where she’s from and how she was raised.
Securing funding for Kukua was quite difficult at first because investors were unsure of how much appeal the project would have at a global level until Marvel’s Black Panther which was highly successful came. The success of Black Panther has undeniably helped similar projects such as Kukua’s to gain investors’ trust and money.
“We’ve always seen our target audience as global. We wanted this to be a mega success in Africa and the rest of the world. So similarly to ‘Black Panther,’ which attracted the most diverse audience ever for being an all-African story and cast, our mission is really on both fronts. We want to showcase the beauty and a different narrative coming from Africa to the rest of the world. And of course, for all the kids here in the continent to see themselves represented” Kukua’s founder said.
Kukua’s Super Sema tells the story of a pre-teenage African girl who has the powers of creativity, determination, etc., and uses these alongside her knowledge of science, maths, engineering, and arts, to create inventions for fighting against her town’s evil ruler who is also a robot villain and his minions.
Super Sema was created to give kids a positive role model and to inspire them with important attributes and skills while also creating an avenue for STEM learning, Lucrezia Bisignani 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,” Paolo Barletta, partner at Alchimia, commented on the investment.