In 2009, husband and wife Mr. Gatumia Gatumia and Dr. Beatrice Wanyara Gatumia set up RECON-Digital as a Kenyan animation studio to tell African Animation stories to Africa and the World.
Recon-Digital traces its history to 2004, operating as RECON-KE and mostly serving the digital needs of ad agencies and their clients. They handled GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), UNICEF, NTV, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), the Coca Cola Company, Telkom-Orange Kenya, EverReady Kenya, Sara Lee, Coopers Kenya LTD, Kenyan-Heart National Foundation, AIM (Africa Inland Mission) among others.
Then from May 2009 they realised there was more they could do.
They decided to run their operations in a different way. Operating as RECON-Digital they broke new ground with two pilot animated short films, “The Greedy Lords of the Jungle” and “Domestic Disturbance”. Later their efforts paid after The Greedy Lords of the Jungle was screened at the 2009 Durban Film Festival. The future had began.
In March 2012, they introduced a 9 month Animation Apprenticeship, for aspiring animators. The 7 short films are the results of the apprentice that ended November 30th 2012.
RECON-Digital is now carving out a niche for itself to tell African stories for Africa and the World. With its Animation Apprenticeship Programme the firm wants to identify, train and retain talented individuals to change the face of Animation in Africa.
The founders believe that entertainment and animation have a huge growth potential in Africa and demand for more original African content is increasing.
We would also like to see more positive animation featuring Africans in leading roles for the sake of families all over the world and in particular for the sake of young people of African descent.
How is the state of animation in the country?
We believe that entertainment and indeed animation in particular have huge growth potential in Kenya and Africa, but we have a lot of catching up to do. We expect that as demand for more original African content increases, RECON-Digital will work to become a strong player in the Animation sector.
Who are your clients?
We have worked in the past for various clients as shown in our showreel, though we are now focused on producing original entertainment products.
What is your business model?
Create valuable animation Intellectual Property and then exploit it for profit in as many ways as we legally can.
Any competition in town?
Yes! Producers of note are Homeboyz, Buni Media, Apes in Space and Fatboy Productions.
How unique are you from them?
Our focus is to try to create high quality, unique, story driven entertainment products which depict Africans in leading roles. As to the real differences in product, perhaps the audiences will be the best judges of that.
Any funding yet? How much?
Well we won KES 500,000 for best ICT and Best Overall Business plan in the Chase Bank, ILO, Enablis Businessplan Competition 2011. We have also borrowed money from family and friends.
In 2012 we welcomed new shareholders on board who acquired a minority stake in the business at a cost of KES 5 million.
Do you meet any challenges?
A shortage of skilled human resource and difficulty in accessing cash to fund the expensive development process are the biggest challenges we face at the moment.
What are your 2013 plans?
We will be releasing 13 episodes of our eagerly anticipated “Domestic Disturbance” show while developing new animated shows.
Do you have plans to expand?
Not only do we want to be Africa wide, we want to be Worldwide!
What else have you done that is successful?
We have developed a casual game for web and mobile that will be announced very soon as a beta release.