Kukua, a pan-African education media franchise has raised $2.5m seed round led by Echo VC, alongside Founders Factory, Kima Ventures, Burda Media, First Minute Capital as well as a strong group of angels including Lars Fjeldsoe-Nielsen (Former VP of mobile at Uber and Dropbox).
The raise will help Kukua continue building its pan-African education franchise to address child illiteracy in Africa. Kukua is also using Sema, an animated educational character to build a suite of educational tools starting with game-based apps for smartphones that teach children reading, writing and maths.
“At firstminute, we aim to invest in bold bets with the potential to monopolise an entire market. We believe Kukua has a long-shot opportunity of building an education-media empire in a frontier market,” said firstminute Capital’s Camilla Mazzolini. “I believe Kukua has the potential to unlock true long-term value both in terms of helping create a generation of future leaders, and in generating returns for its investors.”
Sema aims to expand into a TV show, books, videos, consumer products and experiential and to later become “the Disney of learning” and to empower hundreds of millions of children to learn through magical experiences.
Kukua is also working with a team of children’s media producers and literacy experts, including Claudia Lloyd, the BAFTA-Award winning producer of Tinga Tinga Tales, and Marielle Henault who previously led animation franchises at Walt Disney and Warner Bros.
Between 2015 and 2050, Africa will add 1.3 billion people, more than doubling its current population of 1.2 billion. As part of the continent’s phenomenal population growth, UNICEF predicts that 2 billion babies will be born in Africa over the next 33 years. This means that by 2050, 40% of under-fives and more than a third of all children under 18 will be African.
Combining the continent’s growing population with the exponential rise of mobile technology and improvements in infrastructure, Africa could become the next century’s economic growth powerhouse.
Yet education loopholes in sub-Saharan Africa continue to threaten the future of entire generations with more than 85% of children in sub-Saharan Africa not learning the minimum education.
Empowering the next generation of African children with basic literacy and numeracy skills and with the confidence to fulfil their full potential is Kukua’s mission.