TLcom Capital raises $40M for new Africa tech fund

In Startup, Tech
Ido, Omobola, Andreata and Maurizio at the TLcom Lagos office

TLcom has announced the first close of VC Fund dedicated to Tech and Innovation across Sub Saharan Africa.

TLcom Capital LLP is venture capital firm based in Nairobi, Lagos and London, investing since 1999 in Telecom, Media and Technology (TMT) companies in Europe, Israel and Sub Saharan Africa (SSA). TLcom manages total commitments in excess of €200 million.

TLcom Capital, the VC fund started in London two decades ago with over $300m under management and tech investments spanning Europe, Israel and the US, today announced that commitments to the TIDE Africa Fund have hit US$40 million.

TIDE Africa is the first international venture capital fund focused exclusively on technology enabled solutions and innovation serving Sub Saharan Africa (SSA). The Fund will provide capital and business building support to world class African entrepreneurs developing technology driven solutions to the Continent’s biggest problems.

Equity investments

TIDE Africa will make equity investments from early to growth stage in the US$500,000 to US$10 million range, focusing on fast growing scalable companies leveraging the high penetration of mobile (now well over 70% across the Continent) to serve the SSA market in large underserved consumer and corporate verticals such as financial services, commerce, energy, health and education, often only available to 20% or 30% of the population. Due diligence is under way on the first round of investments.

“In recent years the TLcom team has invested heavily in the Africa VC opportunity. We have opened offices in Nairobi and Lagos, looked at hundreds of tech entrepreneurs in Africa, and successfully invested and exited the best among the first generation of African mobile start-ups, such as Upstream (acquired by private equity group Actis) and Movirtu (acquired by BlackBerry). While the Africa tech ecosystem is still maturing, we don’t see why Africa is any different from other tech investment opportunities across the globe in terms of the magnitude of the investment upside”, says Maurizio Caio, Nairobi based Founder and Managing Partner of TLcom.

“From the high quality of entrepreneurs to the opportunity of building companies serving large markets that are highly valued by global acquirers and capital markets, all the ingredients are now in place for Africa to become the world’s next attractive tech investing destination” adds Ido Sum, London based Partner of TLcom and a former tech entrepreneur in Africa himself.

Affordable solutions

“TLcom believes that African scalable tech enterprises represent not only a massive value generation opportunity, but also a unique development tool that can result in job creation and much wider inclusion. Low income segments that still represent the vast majority of local demand can access many basic services only when technology enables affordable solutions for consumers and SMEs”, says Andreata Muforo, Nairobi based Partner of TLcom, previously with African Development Bank.

RELATED: Orange Digital Investments Launches 50m Euros  for Africa Tech Startups

The Fund has now reached its first close of US$40 million – of the US$100 million target – with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) committing US$10 million each, alongside other African, American and European corporate investors and family offices such as FBN Capital, and Silicon Valley based Bob King, founder of the Stanford SEED institute. Other investors are currently working with a view to join the final close of the Fund scheduled in June 2018.

Great opportunity

“TIDE Africa offers a great opportunity to our investor partners and to global private capital to achieve significant returns and support world class technology entrepreneurs who are working in Africa to create solutions for local and global markets. We look forward to finalizing our first deals and working closely with African entrepreneurs to help them reach their full potential,” concludes Omobola Johnson, Lagos based Senior Partner of TLcom, and former Minister of Communication Technology in the Nigerian government.

The unique combination of African and London presence of the four partners of TLcom, allows the team to work closely with their portfolio companies, actively participate in the Africa tech ecosystem, and access their global network of co-investors, advisors and technology expertise.

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