VC firm TLcom Capital has closed its Tide Africa Fund at $71 million with plans to make up to 12 startup investments over the next 18 months.
The group with offices in London, Lagos, and Nairobi — is looking for tech-enabled, revenue-driven ventures in Africa from seed-stage to Series B, according to TLcom Managing Partner Maurizio Caio.
On geographic scope, TLcom Capital will focus primarily on startups in Africa’s big-three tech hubs — Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa — but is also eyeing rising markets, such as Ethiopia.
The fund has now grown to US$71 million after a new round of investment that attracted international interest, with TLcom confirming participation from the IFC, the UK-based CDC, South Africa’s Sango Capital and Belgium’s BIO.
TLcom’s current Africa portfolio includes companies such as Nigerian trucking logistics venture Kobo360, which is working to reduce business delivery costs in Africa.
TLcom has also backed Kenya’s Twiga Foods, a B2B food distribution company aimed at improving supply-chain operations around agricultural products and fast-moving-consumer-goods for farmers and SMEs.
Both of these companies have gone on to expand in Africa and receive subsequent investment by U.S. investment bank, Goldman Sachs .
Other investments for TLcom include talent accelerator Andela which trains and places African software engineers and Ulesson, the latest venture of serial founder Sim Shagaya.
Andela, Twiga and Kobo360 alone managed to attract more than $150m in recent rounds from global investors like Goldman Sachs and Generation Fund, on the expectation that they can generate world-class returns.
The firm’s close of the $71 million Tide Africa Fund comes on the high-end of a several year mobilizations of capital for the continent’s startup scene. Investment shops specifically focused on Africa have been on the rise.
Similarly, the exit market is catching up with the budding African VC space and is ready to monetize properly funded, fast-scaling businesses. For example, African companies like, Upstream have been acquired by Actis and Movirtu by Blackberry, generating significant returns and providing evidence that a value generation narrative is fully applicable on the Continent.
Despite the progress though, VC for Africa is arguably still work in progress. According to Tech Crunch, one of the earlier reliable estimates placed the VC for Africa space at just over $400 million in 2014. Five years down the line, Partech peg Africa focused VC funding now estimates it at over $2 billion for 2019.
TLcom’s listed in a number of the larger rounds that made up Partech’s tally.
Founded in 1999, TLcom has US$200 million of VC assets under management across Africa, Europe and Israel, and in 2017 announced the US$40 million first close of the TIDE Africa Fund, dedicated to technology and innovation for Sub-Saharan Africa at all stages of venture capital.
Want to join our growing business network? Book a tour today at any of our branches and check out our amazing packages!