TLcom Capital has raised US$40 million for its TIDE (Technology and Innovation for Developing Economies) Africa Fund, the first international VC fund focused exclusively on technology enabled solutions serving Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
TIDE will provide capital for early to growth stage in the US$500,000 to US$10 million range and business building support to world class African entrepreneurs in financial services, commerce, energy, health and education among others.
According to Maurizio Caio, Nairobi-based Founder and Managing Partner of TLcom, “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.”
With offices in Nairobi and Lagos and successful investments and exits into 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). In Africa, TLcom Capital sees an opportunity of building companies serving large markets highly valued by global acquirers and capital markets, making it the world’s next attractive tech investing destination.
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 joining the final close of the Fund scheduled in June 2018.
“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.
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.
“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.