Kukua, a Nairobi- and London-based educational entertainment company and creator of “Super Sema”, the first African animated superhero franchise, has raised $6 million in its latest investment round.
Tencent, which made its first African edtech bet last December in uLesson, Nigeria, co-led this Series A round with Italy-based VC Alchimia. Other investors include EcoVC, FirstMinute Capital and Oxxo Female Catalyst. Kukua says the investment aims to continue building an IP-focused children’s “edutainment” universe with new Super Sema original content, licensing, merchandising and publishing offerings. will support the goal.
The idea of creating an animated superhero franchise
Lucrezia Bisignani founded Kukua in 2018, but the team didn’t pull out the first edition of Super Sema until three years later. The idea of creating an animated superhero franchise for kids, especially in Africa, was something such a show lacked, co-founder and CEO Bisignani told TechCrunch over a call.
For children not only in Africa but globally
“When I started it, we saw that there were no African characters, and very few who were just black,” she said. So, we thought this is a much needed place for children not only in Africa but globally. It is for children to feel represented and to grow up with cartoons that are not only white but also understand different cultures and themes.
Helped with similar projects like Kukua Safe Investments
White and raised in Italy, Bisignani traveled widely in Africa when she was young. She toured most of the continent with her parents and cultivated a “global mindset and an appreciation for everything” that was different from her and her upbringing. Regardless, securing funding for Kukua’s first project was not easy as investors disagreed with its global appeal. Until “Black Panther”. The film was released in 2018 to commercial and critical acclaim, and its success helped similar projects like Kukua secure investment. The company raised $2.5 million in seed that year from Africa-focused venture capital firm EchoVC and other investors.
Most diverse to be a pan-African story and artist
“We’ve always seen our target audience as global. We wanted it to be a huge success in Africa and the rest of the world. So similar to ‘Black Panther’, which had a pan-African story and cast to be the most diverse audience. Our mission is really on both fronts,” the CEO said. “We want to showcase the beauty and a different narrative that comes from Africa to the rest of the world. And of course, here is for all the children on the continent to see themselves represented.”
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, technology, engineering, art and math to create inventions from her secret laboratory to fight this evil robot villain – the ruler of her city – and her ministers. created to “empower” positive female African role models and “inspire” them with team skills by creating a fun, exciting series that creates an opportunity for STEAM to learn.