Bilingual Children’s Media Company Encantos Closes $2 Million Seed Round

Its content is culturally inspired and Emmy-nominated

two cartoon characters in a little boat
"Los pollitos dicen pío, pío, pío cuando tienen hambre cuando tienen frío" is a lyric from an extremely popular Latinx nursery rhyme, animated and refreshed by Encantos' brand Canticos. Encantos

First conceived as a multicultural nursery rhyme brand (with a heavy Latinx influence) in 2015, Encantos Media Studios has spent the past four years aiming to inspire “21st-century kids to learn 21st-century skills” through direct-to-consumer bilingual apps, sing-along videos, books and other family-friendly content.

Last year alone, one of Encantos’ brands, Canticos, won a Kidscreen Award and was nominated for a Daytime Emmy. In March 2019, Encantos named Steven Wolfe Pereira as its CEO, and a couple of months later introduced its newest brand, Tiny Travelers, which focuses on geography, language and culture.

This morning, Encantos announced it has raised another $2 million to continue closing the diversity gap in children’s media. Kapor Capital led the seed round, with participation from Boston Meridian Partners, Chingona Ventures, Human Ventures and MathCapital.

According to Samara Mejia Hernandez, founding partner at Chingona Ventures, Encantos’ successful round is a testament to “its experienced team, purpose-driven brands and powerful vision.”

“As a venture firm committed to investing in diverse founders, Encantos understands that over 50% of today’s kids are multicultural, and their brands are tapping into a huge opportunity within the family entertainment and education industries that is often overlooked,” Mejia Hernandez continued in a statement.

Regarding its investment, Freada Kapor Klein, co-founder and partner of Kapor Capital, told Adweek that Encantos is “creating iconic family brands with their unique approach of entertainment-driven education focused on 21st century skills. They exemplify founders whose lived experience identifies an unmet need in the market, and they have created a high growth, gap-closing business to solve it.”

The company previously raised $800,000 in pre-seed funding from Kapor Capital, MaC Venture Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners Scout Fund.

Several existing and new angel investors also partook in this $2 million seed round round, including Tom Chavez (CEO of Super{set} Startup Studio), Rich Greenfield (partner at LightShed Partners), Lydia Jett (partner at Softbank), Michael Kassan (chairman and CEO of MediaLink) and Antonio Lucio (CMO of Facebook).

Kassan told Adweek that he has “great confidence” in the Encantos team. “I believe the children’s space, particularly the multicultural aspect, is at an important inflection point—Encantos has the right business plan, ideas and the expertise to win.”

The mission behind Encantos

According to Wolfe Pereira, once he and his wife Nuria Santamaría Wolfe (co-founder and current CMO of Encantos) had their first child in 2015, it “hit us like a ton of bricks” that their Generation Alpha son would need to learn a certain set of skills to reach his full potential in this century—and that most of those skills were not taught in the typical U.S. classroom setting.

As Latinos (Wolfe Pereira is Dominican-American and Santamaría Wolfe is Salvadorian), they were also concerned about their son most likely not receiving a bilingual (English-to-Spanish) comprehensive curriculum at school. They were afraid, like many Latinx parents in the U.S., that their child would lose touch with their culture and language.

“It’s kind of crazy that in the United States, when you get introduced to a new language, it’s usually done during middle school in public schools, but you’re more suited to learn another language when you’re about 8 years old and younger,” Wolfe Pereira explained.

While his wife and their two friends and Encantos team members, Susie Jaramillo (president and chief creative officer) and Jaramillo’s husband Carlos Hoyas (chief technology officer), began creating and growing what would become Encantos Media Studios in 2015, Wolfe Pereira was working first as vp of brand strategy and marketing solutions at Oracle, then as CMO and communications officer at Neustar and, finally as CMO at Quantcast, before committing fully to Encantos in March 2019.

Since Wolfe Pereira, who was part of the Adweek 50 in 2016, assumed the role of CEO, Encantos has expanded its digital offerings and has created two new brands (Tiny Travelers and Skeletitos), but has kept its core focus on parents who want to teach their kids 21st century literacy and life skills, but don’t have the time or resources to curate the lessons, develop the experiences and provide the necessary materials.

“Millennials are purpose-driven, and Generation Alpha is the generation of their kids. Millennial parents want something more than just entertainment candy,” Wolfe Pereira added.

What Encantos will do with the seed money

According to Wolfe Pereira, Encantos will continue building its direct-to-consumer business by launching a subscription app as well as a subscription box, which Wolfe Pereira is especially excited for. Encantos also has plans to launch additional brands for other underserved audiences that are disadvantaged by the lack of diversity in children’s media, including Black, Asian and LGBTQ consumers.

“We’re trying to represent what families are looking like today, because Generation Alpha will be the most diverse and digital generation ever. Encantos is not just for Latino parents, it’s for non-Latino parents too,” Wolfe Pereira said.

@monicroqueta Mónica is a breaking news reporter at Adweek.