Bilingual Publisher Encantos Raises $2 Million to Launch Subscription Box, Expand Spanish Content
Rachel Uranga covers the intersection of business, technology and culture. She is a former Mexico-based market correspondent at Reuters and has worked for several Southern California news outlets, including the Los Angeles Business Journal and the Los Angeles Daily News. She has covered everything from IPOs to immigration. Uranga is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism and California State University Northridge. A Los Angeles native, she lives with her husband, son and their felines.
A then-tech executive at Oracle in 2015, Steven Wolfe Pereira was a new father and wanted to do some more meaningful work. So with his wife, who had run Twitter's multicultural market strategy, and their two good friends, they began pitching an idea of a bilingual children's book series to publishers.
"I was aghast at the responses I was getting," he said. "They were like, 'Latinos really don't read'. It was really insulting."
So, the four — all with Latin immigrant roots — came up with their own brand, Encantos, that loosely translates in Spanish to "charming." It started with a board book, app and YouTube channel that had traditional Latino children's songs in Spanish and English like Los Pollitos Dicen or a different take on Happy Birthday, Las Mañanitas. They called it Canticos.
Two years after launching, Encantos picked up a deal with Nickelodeon to license Canticos. And the company has been expanding their edu-tainment brand since. Pereira, whose family is from the Dominican Republic and who took over as chief executive last year, said the public-benefit company aims to be a culturally authentic direct-to-consumer brand for preschoolers.
Last month, the company raised $2 million in an oversubscribed seed round Oakland-based Kapor Capital with Boston Meridian Partners, Chingona Ventures, Human Ventures, and MathCapital.
Encantos plans on using the funds to launch a subscription box service tied to their TinyTravelers series, books exploring cultures around the world. It also is looking to grow their brands. Chef and television personality Aliya LeeKong announced last week she is launching "Issa's Edible Adventures" in partnership with Encantos. The book, app, and animated series is centered around a "feisty, funny, and resourceful" 7-year-old, half-black and half-Indian girl.
Wolfe Pereira, who helped bootstrap the company, said Encantos wants to tell stories that aren't being told elsewhere and will be using a diverse cadre of writers.
"Part of the issue is we don't have enough diverse voices in 'the room where it happens' so we can have culturally authentic voices sharing their everyday lived experiences," he said.
About 41 million Americans speak Spanish, but options for Spanish children's books have been slim, he noted.
Many blame this on the lack of diversity in the publishing, which recently came under fire over "American Dirt," a novel by Jeanine Cummins about a woman who fled Mexico to escape cartels. Latinx writers challenged the portrayal of the immigrant experience as a cheap stereotype that sailed through the largely white literary world because there are few people of color in the upper ranks of the industry.
"Lots of people talk about diversity, equality and inclusion — but year after year it's just that: talk," Wolfe Pereira said. "This is impacting every industry, not just the publishing industry. But for some reason, it's really pronounced in publishing. 'American Dirt' is just one of many, many examples where folks miss the mark. It's 2020, and over half of all kids in America are multicultural. Diversity is a business imperative today."
- Encantos Plans for a More Diverse Future in US EdTech - dot.LA ›
- Encantos Raises $5.7M as Pandemic Raises Profile of Edutainment - dot.LA ›
Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.
Luxury electric car company Karma is in talks with investment banks to help it go public, company officials told dot.LA.
Karma is hoping to ride the Tesla wave of success and capitalize on the soaring valuations of its competitors.
"We want to take advantage of the fact that the market is red hot right now, so we want to be fast," said Mikael Elley, chief of staff at Karma Automotive.
Courtesy of Karma
- A Super-Charged Electric Vehicle Market: Rivian, Fisker and Karma ... ›
- Los Angeles Could Soon See More Jobs in the Electric Vehicle ... ›
- Rivian, Fisker and Karma Rake in Funds - dot.LA ›
- Karma Automotive Lays Off 60, Mostly in Irvine - dot.LA ›
- Karma Automotive Comes Up with $100M in New Funding - dot.LA ›
- Canoo Is Set to Go Public - dot.LA ›
- Karma prices its electric car at $79,000 - dot.LA ›
El Segundo-based telemedicine technology provider Cloudbreak Health and Florida-based UpHealth Holdings, a digital healthcare provider, announced they will combine and go public via a SPAC in a deal that values the combined companies at $1.35 billion.
Named UpHealth, Inc., the new company aims to streamline online health care by becoming a single provider of four different services: telehealth, teletherapy, a health care appointment and management system and an online pharmacy.
Jamey Edwards, co-founder and executive director of Cloudbreak
- How Telemedicine Can Save Lives and Protective Equipment - dot.LA ›
- Is Telemedicine At a Tipping Point? L.A. Doctors Hope So - dot.LA ›