TLcom, the Africa-focused venture capital firm, has announced a $70 million first close for its $150 million Africa-focused tech fund, solidifying the investor’s position as the continent’s largest independent VC firm.
With a first close in line with the total size of its TIDE Africa Fund, which closed in 2020, TLcom’s second fund sees participation from Allianz, the world’s largest insurance company, through AfricaGrow, its joint venture with DEG Impact (German Investment Corporation), as well as a host of new and returning investors including Bertelsmann, King Philanthropies, the TLcom team and FBNQuest from the private sector, and major DFIs such as CDC Group (the UK’s development finance institution), IFC, Proparco and Swedfund. A second close of the fund is expected later in 2022.
TLcom’s new fund will expand its existing focus on fast-growing, tech-enabled African startups to Egypt, while also strengthening its long-standing presence in East and West Africa.
TLcom expects to add an additional 20 early-stage startups to its portfolio with ticket sizes ranging from $500,000 to $15 million, with a focus on Seed and Series A stages, and will target entrepreneurs tackling some of the continent’s most complex challenges in sectors such as fintech, mobility, agriculture, healthcare, education, and ecommerce.
The TIDE Africa Fund’s entrepreneurs have gained tremendous traction in recent years, with total sales expanding 3x since investment, over 2,300 jobs created, and significant up-rounds secured with involvement from leading global investors such as Softbank, Owl Ventures, and Index Ventures.
To date, TLcom’s portfolio companies have raised more than half a billion dollars in cash, in addition to TIDE Africa Fund money, and new investments secured from these entrepreneurs have averaged 5x the valuation of the first TLcom investment.
Following Andela’s $200 million Series E funding at a valuation of $1.5 billion, the investor announced the first unicorn in its portfolio in 2021.
TLcom, which was founded in 1999, now manages over $350 million in primary and secondary funds and has one of the most extensive portfolios in African technology, with 12 startups including Andela, Ajua, Autochek, Ilara Health, Kobo360, Okra, Pula, Seamless HR, Shara, Terragon Group, Twiga Foods, and uLesson.
Founder and Managing Partner Maurizio Caio, based in Kenya, Senior Partner Dr. Omobola Johnson, based in Nigeria, and Partners Andreata Muforo in Kenya and Ido Sum in the UK make up the company’s highly experienced and growing workforce, which is also 50 percent female at the senior leadership level.