London-based Kukua raises €2.2 million for its pan-African edutainment franchise

British media and education tech company Kukua has raised €2.2 million in a round led by Africa-based EchoVC, with participation from firstminute capital, Burda Principal Investments, Kima Ventures, and strategic angel investors. The company is also part of the Founder’s Factory edtech accelerator programme.

Founded in London, Kukua is building its edutainment franchise starting from Kenya with a goal of solving child illiteracy across Africa. The main character of the property is Sema, “a young African girl born with an extraordinary sense of purpose,” the company explained in a press release, who “builds technology inventions using her creativity and knowledge to solve the problems in her village and defeat the evil Tobor” from her laboratory in one of Africa’s slums.

Kukua combines the locally-inspired storytelling with literacy methodologies like an early focus on phonics, as well as offers engaging gamification features. The first of the series of Kukua’s apps, SEMA Run, is used by 30,000 children three times a week for an average of 30 minutes.

Speaking of the business model of the startup, Kukua’s founder Lucrezia Bisignani told that the main opportunity is “around monetising one media property at a 360° scale.”

“Think of some of the biggest franchises in the world: Warner Brother’s Harry Potter, Entertainment One’s Peppa Pig, or Disney’s many properties such as Frozen,” she added. “Globally, the entertainment & media industry is worth $480 billion and character licensing and merchandising another $118 billion.”

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