Nigeria’s EchoVC Leads $2.5m Funding Round in Kenya’s Kukua Edtech Startup

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Nigeria's EchoVC Leads $2.5m Funding Round in Kenya's Kukua Edtech Startup

Nigerian-based Venture Capitalist firm, EchoVC has recently completed a new investment in Kenyan edtech startup, Kukua. The VC firm led the recent $2.5 million seed funding round in the Kenyan startup a few days ago. Other investors who participated in the round include Kima Ventures, Founders Factory, Burda Principal Investments and Firstminute Capital.

Kukua is an interesting startup. Founded by Alexandre Terrien and Lucrezia Bisignani, Kukua is using technology to address the critical challenge of illiteracy in Africa. And with over 138 million children presently lacking basic literacy and arithmetic skills in Africa, this startup is in a unique position.

But intriguingly, Kukua uses mobile gaming to grab the attention of children (particularly girls) and get them to learn. It is basically combining proven literacy methods with new engaging play and animated entertainment.

In line with this, the company developed Sema; a mobile game based on the story of an African girl, to equip children with knowledge of Swahili and English languages.

The startup has a partnership with telecom company, Airtel to promote Sema to its users. Presently, at least 30,000 children in Kenya play the Sema game each week according to Firstminute Capital.

“Today’s generation of African children have the potential to become extraordinary leaders, engineers, entrepreneurs, teachers and anything they dream of”, said Lucrezia Bisignani, founder and CEO of Kukua. “Empowering them with basic reading and math skills delivers the founding blocks of that trajectory and is at the heart of Kukua’s mission.”

EchoVC Funding Opens Local Content Path for Kukua

Kukua also has bigger plans. It has already developed other educational apps that cover 3 years of Kenya’s primary school curriculum. The company says it also has plans to launch TV shows to inspire kids to learn STEM subjects. Reports say the team has already begun working with media experts to get contents ready as quickly as possible.

Children currently watch western cartoons like Dora the Explorer and Tom and Jerry and we didn’t want children to grow up without African heroes that look just like them. We believe that Sema is the perfect character and role model to inspire and equip children with the skills and confidence to reach their full potential.

The new $2.5 million funding round represents an important step towards achieving this. Kukua says the new funding will boost its original content production plans and afford it more leverage to scale its service even further.

The deal also represents EchoVC’s growing base of non-Nigerian investments. Although the VC firm does have portfolio startups from other countries, Nigerian startups currently represent its largest pool. Some notable investments include Printivo, Lifebank, Hotels.ng, S&T Media, MyPadi, Cellulant and a few others.

As part of the deal, EchoVC Managing Partner, Eghosa Omoigui joins Kukua’s board of directors.


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