London ball

Nairobi and London-based educational entertainment startup Kukua raises $6m

Educational entertainment company operating in Nairobi – Kenya and London – England, Kukua, raised $6 million in a Series A funding round led by Tencent and Alchimia.

The round, which also included EchoVC, firstminute Capital and Auxxo Female Catalyst, will facilitate Kukua’s goal of continuously building an IP-centric edutainment universe for children with new offerings of original content, licensing , merchandise and publishing from Super Sema.

The Kukua team first created Super Sema, the story of a 10-year-old girl who was an African superhero described as a role model for children, three years after Lucrezia Bisignani founded the company. The lack of African superhero characters for children in cartoons and the like led to the creation of Kukua.

The founder wanted children on the continent to feel represented and grow up with cartoons closely related to them, explaining their culture and behaviors.

Super Sema by Kukua

The first season of Super Sema was picked up by YouTube. The video streaming platform acquired its distribution rights and launched the series on its YouTube Originals channel in March 2021.

Since its launch, Super Sema’s YouTube channel has attracted over 40 million views. The show – produced by Lupita Nyong’o – received an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Animated Series in January.

The Oscar-winning actress is also a shareholder in the company. Other members of the Super Sema team include COO Vanessa Ford, CFO Giovanni Bisignani and four-time BAFTA winner Claudia Lloyd (producer and creative director).

The second season of Super Sema has been accredited by YouTube Originals and premiered this month. Super Sema’s target audience is 4-8 years old. Being on YouTube Originals, 60% of its audience comes from the United States.

The UK and Kenya complete the top three countries where Super Sema is the most watched. Apart from being on YouTube Originals, Super Sema is also shown on major linear TV networks in Africa, such as Citizen TV in Kenya and SABC in South Africa.

Kukua has also appointed Matthew Ball, a venture capital partner of Makers Fund, the world’s largest gaming venture capital fund by AUM, to its board of directors. The goal is to extend Super Sema’s intellectual property and story world into interactive and immersive educational experiences for children.