Startups & Ideas

TLcom Capital Closes Record $154M Early-Stage VC Fund for African Tech Startups

TLcom Capital, a pioneering venture capital firm focused on early-stage technology companies across Africa, has announced the closing of its second fund, TIDE Africa Fund II, at an impressive $154 million. This fund represents the largest of its kind dedicated to Seed and Series A investments in Africa, confirming TLcom’s position as a major player in the African venture capital landscape.

Strategic Growth and Expansion

Launched with an ambitious target, TIDE Africa Fund II has successfully surpassed its goal, drawing attention and capital from several high-profile new investors, as well as repeat backers from its predecessor, TIDE Africa Fund I. Among the notable limited partners contributing to the fund are the European Investment Bank (EIB), Allianz and DEG Impact’s joint venture AfricaGrow, Visa Foundation, and Bertelsmann, highlighting the strong confidence in TLcom’s strategic direction and management.

This latest fund is over twice the size of its first fund, which closed in 2020, reflecting a robust growth in investor interest and a deepening trust in TLcom’s ability to scout and scale tech enterprises that can navigate and leverage the complexities of African markets. The inclusion of new regions in its investment focus, notably Egypt, alongside continued emphasis on Sub-Saharan Africa, underscores TLcom’s evolving strategy to tap into a broader array of market dynamics and opportunities.

Investment Focus and Impact

TIDE Africa Fund II is designed to make initial investments ranging from $1 million to $3 million, with ample reserves for follow-on investments in standout portfolio companies as they grow. This structure is aimed at fostering long-term engagement and support for startups, a strategy that TLcom believes will maximize both financial returns and developmental impacts.

The fund has already begun deploying capital, with significant investments in South Africa’s LittleFish, a software company focused on enabling payments and banking products for SMBs, and ILLa, a logistics platform based in Cairo. These investments exemplify the fund’s commitment to supporting innovative solutions that address pressing needs and unlock new opportunities within the continent.

Leadership and Vision

Under the leadership of Maurizio Caio, Founder and Managing Partner at TLcom Capital, the firm has not only secured substantial funds but has also cultivated a reputation for its keen insight and support for Africa’s most promising tech leaders. Caio’s vision for TLcom is clear: to become Africa’s most sought-after early-stage VC firm, a goal that seems ever more attainable with each strategic move and investment success.

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

Significantly, TLcom Capital is not just about financial investments but is deeply committed to fostering diversity and inclusion within the tech ecosystem. The firm has a majority-female partnership and investment committee, and it has committed significant capital towards boosting female-founded startups, including a $2 million co-investment with FirstCheck Africa in June 2022.

Support from Financial Giants and Future Outlook

The fund’s close has garnered praise from high-ranking officials at major financial institutions, reflecting a broad consensus on its potential impact. Ambroise Fayolle, Vice President and Head of Investments at the EIB, emphasized the fund’s capacity to drive inclusive economic growth and foster significant social change, particularly through its focus on empowering high-growth companies. Similarly, Najada Kumbuli, Vice President & Head of Investments at Visa Foundation, lauded TLcom for its support of visionary entrepreneurs who can capitalise on Africa’s vast economic potential.

As TLcom Capital now manages over $300 million across its funds, its portfolio boasts 17 startups, including recognized names like Andela, Autochek, and Pula. Each represents a facet of Africa’s dynamic tech landscape, driven by a blend of innovation, strategic support, and transformative potential.

The successful closure of TIDE Africa Fund II not only highlights TLcom’s pivotal role in shaping the future of African tech but also signals a maturing and increasingly influential African startup ecosystem ready to challenge global markets and innovate solutions for both local and international challenges. As TLcom Capital continues to invest and guide the next generation of African tech giants, the world watches eagerly, anticipating the next big breakthrough from the continent.


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