Africa-Focused VC Firm Closes $71M Fund To Invest In 12 African Tech Startups

Written by Peter Pedroncelli
Africa-focused VC firm
Africa-focused VC firm TLcom Capital has closed its $71M fund and plans to back 12 African tech startups in the next year and a half. The TLcom Capital team in order from left to right: founder Maurizio Caio, partners Andreata Muforo and Ido Sum, and senior partner Omobola Johnson. Image supplied by TLcom

Africa-focused venture capital firm TLcom Capital is set to back more tech startups across Africa in 2020 after closing its $71 million sub-Saharan Africa-focused fund.

TLcom plans to use the Tide Africa Fund to invest in around 12 African tech startups over the next 18 months, TechCrunch reports.

TLcom’s team includes Zimbabwean partner Andreata Muforo and senior partner Dr. Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s former minister of communication technology.

Muforo is based in Nairobi, Kenya and holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Before joining TLcom, Muforo worked as a transaction manager at Horizon Africa Capital Ltd, a boutique M&A firm in Nairobi, and as an investment officer in the private sector department of the African Development Bank based in Tunisia.

Johnson, a senior partner at TLcom, is based in Lagos and sits on the boards of Andela and Kobo360. She has a doctorate in business administration from the School of Management of Cranfield University in the U.K.

Before becoming a venture capitalist, Omobola was Nigeria’s minister of communication technology from 2011 to 2015, focusing on the launch and execution of the national broadband plan and the support of the Nigerian tech industry.

Andreata Muforo
Omobola Johnson

TLcom claims to identify African startups that have strong founders before investing and backing off, trusting in the startup’s leadership rather than becoming too involved in the day-to-day operations.

The VC firm with offices in Lagos, Nairobi and London is looking to back tech ventures from seed-stage to Series B funding rounds, Techcrunch reports.

“We are bullish on supporting and investing in tech-enabled African companies due to the opportunities for value generation that they provide. We are known for being an entrepreneur-led VC firm who values Africa-centric innovation, strong leadership teams and businesses who are solving real challenges in the market,” said Omobola in a statement emailed to Moguldom.

In 2017, TLcom was involved in a $40 million funding round for Andela, a startup that trains and outsources African engineers and coders to work for global firms.

The VC firm also has a stake in Kenyan customer experience platform Ajua and Nigerian education tech startup uLesson.

In 2019, TLcom made a $5 million investment in Nigeria’s Terragon Group, a data analytics software company before also being involved in $30 million funding rounds for both Nigerian logistics firm Kobo360 and Kenyan supply chain startup Twiga Foods.

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TLcom’s Africa fund is expected to continue investing in startups from Africa’s three biggest markets — Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

The Africa-focused VC fund expects to make around six new investments in pan-African companies over the coming 12 to 18 months while ensuring five or six follow-on rounds for their existing portfolio of clients.