The first African cartoon superhero franchise, “Super Sema,” was created by the Nairobi and London-based education entertainment business Kukua, which has garnered $6 million in its most recent round of funding.
Tencent and the Italian venture capital firm Alchimia jointly headed this Series A round, after Tencent placed its first African edtech investment in Nigeria’s uLesson in December. EchoVC, firstminute Capital, and Auxxo Female Catalyst are a few additional investors.
The tale of Super Sema, a 10-year-old African girl superhero with the qualities of creativity, tenacity, and teamwork, is told.
She develops innovations in her hidden lab using science, technology, engineering, the arts, and arithmetic to combat the evil robot tyrant who rules her village and his henchmen.
By adding new Super Sema original content, licensing, retail, and publishing options, Kukua claims the investment will help it in its mission to keep creating an IP-centric kids’ “edutainment” universe.
Although Lucrezia Bisignani created Kukua in 2018, the company didn’t release the first iteration of Super Sema until three years later.
According to co-founder and CEO Bisignani, the idea to develop an animated superhero series for children, particularly those in Africa, came from the dearth of such programs.
Bisignani traveled much in Africa as a young girl, despite being white and born and raised in Italy. With her parents, she traveled to the majority of the continent’s nations, developing a “global mentality and appreciation for everything” that was different from her childhood.
Getting finance for Kukua’s initial project wasn’t simple because investors weren’t sure of its worldwide potential, regardless of her expertise and the desire for such content.
Prior “Black Panther.” In 2018, the film received both critical and commercial acclaim, and because of its success, initiatives like Kukua were able to attract funding.
That year, EchoVC, a venture capital firm with a concentration on Africa, and other investors helped the company raise $2.5 million in seed funding.
According to Bisignani, the goal of the series is to “empower” young people by giving them strong female role models from the continent of Africa and “inspire” them with teamwork skills by creating a stimulating environment for STEAM education.
In March 2021, YouTube scooped up the first season of Super Sema, bought the rights to the show, and made it available on its YouTube Originals channel.
It was frequently hit. Super Sema’s YouTube channel has received more than 40 million views since it first went live.
This January, the program Lupita Nyong’o executive produced garnered an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Animated Series.
The Academy Award-winning actress also owns stock in the business. The Super Sema team also includes CFO Giovanni Bisignani, COO Vanessa Ford, and four-time BAFTA winner Claudia Lloyd (producer and creative director).
The second season of the program debuted this month after receiving YouTube Originals’ approval. The objective demographic for Super Sema is kids between the ages of 4 and 8, and because it is a YouTube Original, 60% of its viewers are from the United States. The final two nations where Super Sema is most seen are Kenya and the U.K.
Super Sema airs on significant linear TV networks in Africa, including SABC in South Africa and Citizen TV in Kenya, in addition to YouTube Originals.
According to Bisignani, the business is acquiring more rights to broadcast the program on other TV stations across the continent.
Bisignani claims that Kukua is working on certain ways to increase the show’s interactivity. A U.S. toy brand launch with Just Play is expected for this fall, and the 2022 premiere of “Let’s Technovate with Super Sema,” a companion vlog series featuring real science projects kids can perform at home, is also on the imminent agenda.
Kukua also has ambitions to include Penguin Random House, Bendon, and Bentex, market leaders in publishing and fashion, in Super Sema’s North American Publishing and Licensing program.
A few well-known animations are available worldwide, and there are many thousands of small and medium-sized studios that create content that is catered to regional demands.
A number of investors’ assistance and involvement have helped to increase the availability of animation talent, which has previously been scarce. Industry initiatives to promote African animation have also emerged.
The majority of these animations are designed to encourage young people to pursue STEAM. The fascinating episodes on Kukua’s Super Sema are designed for entertainment and provide a platform for STEAM learning.
Kukua may transport Super Sema to the metaverse in a future version. One of the objectives is for children to experience the Super Sema tale universe through a Roblox experience, where they can easily transition from online to offline while continuing to play and learn with their favorite characters in this highly captivating story world, according to Bisignani.
She added that Kukua aims to be the Disney of education and will use the most recent media and technologies to provide its consumers with fascinating experiences.
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