TLcom secures first round of its $150 million fund to back 20 African startups

TLcom has announced a first close of $70 million for its $150 million Africa focused tech fund to invest in 20 early-stage startups on the continent.

TLcom secures first round of its $150 million fund to back 20 African startups

For its second fund, pan-African venture capital firm, TLcom is targeting $150 million to back 20 early-stage startups.

Arguably the largest independent VC firm fully dedicated to Africa, TLcom has secured the first close of $70 million to enable the fund, a second close of the fund is expected later in 2022. According to a statement made available to Benjamindada.com, "the first close in line with the total size of its TIDE Africa Fund closed in 2020"

Launched in 1999, TLcom currently has in excess of $350mn worth of funds under management across primary and secondary funds and boasts one of the leading portfolios in African tech startups including Andela, Ajua, Autochek, Ilara Health, Kobo360, Okra, Pula, Seamless HR, Shara, Terragon Group, Twiga Foods and uLesson.

TLcom’s portfolio companies have raised more than half a billion dollars of capital in addition to funding issued by the TIDE Africa Fund and on average, new investments secured from these startups were priced at 5x the valuation of the initial investment received from TLcom.

In 2021, the firm also announced the first unicorn in its portfolio following Andela’s $200million Series E funding at a valuation of $1.5 billion.

With this latest fund, TLcom will expand its existing focus on fast-growth, tech-enabled African startups to Egypt, as well as strengthen its long-standing presence across East and West Africa.

With ticket sizes ranging from $500,000 to $15 million, TLcom expects to add an additional 20 early-stage startups to its portfolio with an emphasis on Seed and Series A stages and will target entrepreneurs tackling some of the continent’s most complex challenges in sectors including fintech, mobility, agriculture, healthcare, education and ecommerce.

Related: How to be an angel investor with less than $3,000 (₦1.2 million) in Nigeria

Maurizio Caio, Managing Partner at TLcom, said "since the closing of our previous fund, African tech has secured more high-value financing rounds, exits and M&As than ever before and this is only just the beginning. As we partner with some of the world’s leading global investors for our new fund, this is not only an endorsement of the massive value generation upside on the continent, but also of our proven track record in identifying and supporting entrepreneurs successfully winning and redefining Africa’s key verticals".

"It is becoming increasingly evident that our sector has broken into a new era of maturity driven by very strong business fundamentals that African founders are demonstrating not only in the fintech space, but across a huge number of the continent’s largely underserved markets", Caio added.

With its and gender balanced team — 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 — TLcom intends to strengthen its partnership with African founders with emphasis on female entrepreneurs.

Allianz, 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, are participating in this round.

According to Martin Ewald, Lead Portfolio Manager Impact Investments, AfricaGrow/Allianz Global Investors, "one thing is clear to those who are close to the African VC market: it will grow. We at AfricaGrow believe much more is possible in terms of capital influx into the continent especially in the VC space.

Ewald further added that, "there is considerable upside for everyone if investment activities accelerate even more: African businesses can boost productivity, gain in terms of competitiveness and technological edge and tens of millions more Africans could gain stable employment while generating returns for investors"