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TLcom Capital, the VC fund started in London two decades ago, has raised $40 million of its target $100 million for its new Africa fund.
TIDE Africa, the first international venture capital fund focused exclusively on tech startups in Sub Saharan 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.
In addition to capital, the fund will provide business building support to world class African entrepreneurs developing technology driven solutions to the continent’s biggest problems.
Ido Sum, London-based Partner of TLcom and a speaker at AB2020‘s Tech in Ghana Conference held earlier this year, says: ‘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.
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.
Omobola Johnson, Lagos based Senior Partner of TLcom and former Minister of Communication Technology in Nigeria, says: ‘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 finalising our first deals and working closely with African entrepreneurs to help them reach their full potential.’
TLcom Capital started in London two decades ago with over $300m under management and tech investments spanning Europe, Israel and the US. They’ve since opened offices in Kenya and Nigeria.
‘In recent years the TLcom team has invested heavily in the Africa VC opportunity,’ says Maurizio Caio, Nairobi based Founder and Managing Partner of TLcom.
‘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.’