Based in the UK and Nairobi, Kenya, edtech company Kukua is planning to grow its mobile kids STEM property Sema (pictured) into a pan-African edutainment franchise that includes an animated TV series with the US$2.5 million in new funding.
The latest funding round was led by African venture capitalist EchoVC, with participation from Burda Principal Investments, firstminute capital, Xavier Niel’s Kima Ventures and angel investors including European-based Lars Fjeldsoe-Nielsen.
Featuring a young African heroine, Sema currently consists of a suite of educational game apps for kids ages four and up that teach reading, writing and math. The first title, SEMA Run, launched for free on iOS and Android devices earlier this year, and 30,000 children currently use it three times a week for an average of 30 minutes each time.
Kukua’s cash injection will support the development and production of an animated television series, plus strengthen the company’s distribution plans with strategic partners across Africa. The startup previously worked with telecom giant Airtel to promote its apps to more than two million mobile phones in Kenya.
Led by founder and CEO Lucrezia Bisignani, Kukua’s female-driven team includes BAFTA-winning producer Claudia Lloyd (Tinga Tinga Tales) and former Disney and Warner Bros. exec Marielle Henault, whose LA-based entertainment management company, Doobry, just signed on as Sema’s franchise manager.