Pembroke VCT, the venture capital trust focused on backing early-stage businesses with exceptional founders and management teams, has invested £500k into Annie Mals, a children’s education brand launching its maiden offering, a series of books devised to give children confidence to engage with contemporary issues, such as mental health, diversity and introversion.
Annie Mals was founded by award-winning charity fundraiser Emily Samuels. She was inspired to create Annie Mals after turning her own life-changing problems of severe epilepsy and partial sight into a remarkable call to action. During her time volunteering in hospitals and reading to young children she recognised a need for educational resources that address contemporary issues.
Each story in the Annie Mals series features a protagonist animal who confronts and overcomes a problem, such as Freddie the Jellyfish who is struggling to survive in a sea contaminated by plastic.
This story, the first in the series of illustrated books, will be published in June. Annie Mals has received positive feedback from publishers and has already secured an offer from Purple Mash, the publishing arm of 2Simple Ltd, an award-winning provider of digital resources for UK primary schools.
Annie Mals plans to develop its book series into a multimedia offering. Following the publication of the first three books, the company will be licensing its characters for television animation and short form YouTube content with toys, clothing and accessories also in the pipeline.
Andrew Wolfson, CEO of Pembroke Investment Managers, says: “When we first met Emily and heard her story, we admired how she had conquered her own personal challenges. It was overcoming these very challenges that gave her resilience and drove the inspiration for Annie Mals. Each story has a well-crafted, engaging narrative that tackles significant personal and global issues. We are delighted to be supporting Emily and Annie Mals and look forward to the publication of the first books.”
“My wonderful teenage boys Harry and Jack were brought up on fantasy stories and I see through the children’s charities I have helped just how much our younger generation love to use their imagination,” says Emily Samuels. “I want Annie Mals to give children and their families as much pleasure reading these tales as I have had in devising them. I dedicate these books to children around the world in the hope they can turn adversity into positive change.”