Kukua, creators of “Super Sema,” raises $6 million, led by Alchimia and Tencent – TechCrunch

Kukua, creators of “Super Sema,” raises $6 million, led by Alchimia and Tencent – TechCrunch


Kukua, a Nairobi- and London-based educational amusement organization and the creators of “Super Sema,” the initial African animated superhero franchise, has raised $6 million in its most up-to-date round of financial investment.

Tencent, which built its very first African edtech bet in Nigeria’s uLesson final December, co-led this Series A spherical with Italy-based mostly VC Alchimia. Other buyers incorporate EchoVC, firstminute Funds and Auxxo Woman Catalyst.

Kukua suggests the investment decision will assistance its objective to carry on building an IP-centric kids’ “edutainment” universe with new Super Sema first content, licensing, items and publishing offerings.

Lucrezia Bisignani started Kukua in 2018, but it was not till three yrs later on that the staff put out the very first variation of Tremendous Sema. The idea to produce an animated superhero franchise for young children, in particular these in Africa, was since there was a lack of these kinds of shows, co-founder and CEO Bisignani instructed TechCrunch on a phone.

“When I started this, we observed there were no African characters, and very handful of that were just Black,” she mentioned. So, we considered this was a significantly-needed room, not only for children in Africa but globally. It’s for youngsters to come to feel represented and to expand up with cartoons that are not only white but also to comprehend distinctive cultures and themes.”

Although white and lifted in Italy, Bisignani travelled widely in Africa when she was younger. She visited most nations around the world on the continent with her mother and father and cultivated a “global mentality and appreciation for everything” that was distinct from her and her upbringing.

Irrespective of her track record and demand for such content material, securing funding for Kukua’s initially project wasn’t effortless as traders have been unconvinced of its world-wide appeal. Until eventually “Black Panther.” The film was unveiled to professional and critical acclaim in 2018, and its success assisted equivalent jobs like Kukua protected investments. The organization raised $2.5 million seed from Africa-concentrated venture cash business EchoVC and other investors that calendar year.

“We’ve generally viewed our concentrate on audience as world wide. We wished this to be a mega achievements in Africa and the rest of the world. So similarly to ‘Black Panther,’ which captivated the most assorted viewers at any time for being an all-African story and solid, our mission is actually on equally fronts,” the CEO reported. “We want to showcase the natural beauty and a distinct narrative coming from Africa to the relaxation of the world. And of training course, for all the children below in the continent to see on their own represented.”

Tremendous Sema is the tale of a 10-12 months-aged African girl — a superhero — with the powers of creative imagination, willpower and crew techniques. She employs science, tech, engineering, arts and math to generate innovations from her solution lab to combat this evil robotic villain — her town’s ruler — and his minions.

Bisignani said the present was designed to “empower” a era of children to have beneficial woman African function versions and “inspire” them with crew capabilities by earning a exciting, enjoyable collection that produces an avenue for STEAM studying.

The Kukua group

YouTube picked up Super Sema’s initially period, acquired its distribution legal rights and launched the collection on its YouTube Originals channel in March 2021. It was a continuous hit. Due to the fact its launch, Tremendous Sema’s YouTube Channel has captivated extra than 40 million views. The exhibit — government made by Lupita Nyong’o — received an NAACP Image Awards nomination for Excellent Animated Sequence this January. The Oscar-successful actress is also a shareholder in the organization. Other users of the Tremendous Sema team include things like COO Vanessa Ford, CFO Giovanni Bisignani and 4-occasions BAFTA winner Claudia Lloyd (producer and creative director).

The show’s next time was greenlit by YouTube Originals and has premiered this month. Super Sema’s target audience is involving the ages of 4 to 8, and staying on YouTube Originals, 60% of its audience comes from the U.S. The U.K. and Kenya round up the major a few nations around the world the place Tremendous Sema is most watched. In addition to remaining on YouTube Originals, Tremendous Sema also airs on major linear Tv set networks in Africa, like Citizen Television set in Kenya and SABC in South Africa. Bisignani explained the enterprise is having additional rights to air the show on far more Television set stations across the continent.

According to Bisignani, Kukua has some approaches to make the demonstrate additional interactive in its pipeline. Speedy programs consist of launching a U.S. toy line in the slide with toy organization Just Engage in and “Let’s Technovate with Super Sema,” a companion vlog sequence with true science and Diy experiments young children can do at dwelling scheduled to premiere in 2022. Kukua also designs to develop Tremendous Sema’s North American Publishing and Licensing method with the signing of Penguin Random Property, Bendon and Bentex, classification leaders in publishing and clothing.

Nonetheless, an future variation may possibly see Kukua choose Super Sema to the metaverse. “One of the targets is to have little ones enter Tremendous Sema tale world and do that in a Roblox practical experience, someplace they can just go from online to offline and repeatedly engage in and master with their favourite people in this extremely participating story entire world,” Bisignani explained. “We want to be the Disney of learning and leverage all the most current media and systems to make partaking experiences for our consumers.”

To this impact, the organization appointed Matthew Ball — a venture husband or wife at Makers Fund, the world’s premier gaming enterprise fund by AUM — to its board. The firm said Ball’s guidance will be essential as it expands its Super Sema IP and story planet into interactive and immersive educational encounters for young children.

Speaking on the financial investment, Paolo Barletta, partner at Alchimia, said, “Kukua is 1 of those firms in the entire world that everybody would like to see do well. We have been part of their growth journey from the first day and are thrilled to continue on to guidance their environment-course workforce, motivated by the good affect we can have on an overall era of youngsters.”

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