Zaia Ventures founder Ukonwo Ojo acquires stake in Taeps Animation Studios

Taeps is responsible for the short film Ewa, which was nominated for Best Animation Short Film at AFRIFF in 2023.

Zaia Ventures, the venture capital firm that former Prime Video executive, Ukonwo Ojo started in 2022 has acquired a stake in Taeps Animation Studios, a fast-rising Lagos-base animation studio, whose short animated film, Ewa was nominated for Best Animation Short Film at the African Film Festival (AFRIFF) in 2023.

Variety Magazine first reported the announcement on Friday, June 14, 2024.

Taeps was founded in 2017 by Adeoyin Okuboyejo and Ayobami Bello. The studio is currently working on its first feature film, Adétóún and the Heart of Time, an animated film that follows the story of Adétóún, a young descendant of an ancient warrior.

ALSO READ: With the arrival of ‘Iwájú,’ is Nollywood finally ready to turn its gaze on animations?

For us, this deal marks a great partnership with Ukonwa, bringing her wealth of experience from Amazon, Mac, Unilever, RB to Taeps and our team at large,” Okuboyejo, who is CEO of Taeps, said in an Instagram post announcing the deal.

This collaboration with Zaia Ventures is evidence of our shared vision of celebrating African heritage through animation. With Ukonwa Ojo’s expertise and support, we are embarking on our most ambitious project yet: Adétóún and the Heart of Time. Together, we will not only entertain but also inspire and educate audiences on the uniqueness of African storytelling,” he added in a statement.

I am thrilled to join forces with Taeps Animation Studios to amplify African voices and narratives in the world of animation. Their commitment to authenticity and excellence in storytelling aligns perfectly with our vision at Zaia Ventures. Together, we will showcase the beauty, complexity and diversity of African culture to a global audience,” Ojo, who is CEO of Zaia Ventures said in a statement to Variety.

Ojo left her role as chief marketing officer of Prime Video and Amazon Studios in 2022 after spending two years at the streamer. She launched Zaia Ventures in 2022, “to build and scale businesses that serve underrepresented and marginalised communities.”

As a member of Taeps board she will, “lend her expertise and strategic guidance to support the company’s growth and development,” the statement said.

Screenshot from the Taeps film “ĘwA”

ALSO READ: How Roye Okupe became Nigeria’s next big star on Hollywood’s animation scene

The move comes at a time when Nigerian creators have begun to receive huge investments from Hollywood giants to develop animated series based on Nigerian mythologies and magical realist re-imagination of the country.

This year, Disney released Iwaju set in a futuristic Lagos. Cartoon Network is currently working on Iyanu, based on the graphic novel by Roye Okupe.

Taeps is responsible for the short film Ewa, which was nominated for Best Animation Short Film at AFRIFF in 2023. Read More

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *