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TLcom Closes Africa’s Largest Early-Stage VC Fund

Anna Lyudvig
April 22, 2024, 7:08 p.m.

Word count: 750

TLcom Capital, an Africa-focused venture capital firm, has announced the final close of TIDE Africa Fund II, its second fund for technology in Africa, at $154m.

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TLcom Capital, an Africa-focused venture capital firm, has announced the final close of TIDE Africa Fund II, its second fund for technology in Africa, at $154m.

The new fund accelerates the firm’s mission to partner with elite founders to tackle Africa’s biggest and most complex challenges with innovative solutions that will unlock massive value in the continent’s critical sectors.

At more than twice the size of TLcom Capital’s first fund, TIDE Africa Fund II is oversubscribed and sees participation from several new, high-profile LPs alongside returning LPs from the firm’s first Africa- focused fund, TIDE Africa Fund I, closed in 2020.

These include the European Investment Bank (EIB), Allianz and DEG Impact’s joint venture, AfricaGrow, Visa Foundation and Bertelsmann.

With this second fund, TLcom Capital maintains its early-stage, multi-sector focus and expands its mandate beyond Sub-Saharan Africa to Egypt. 

TIDE Africa Fund II will make initial investments of $1m to $3m, maintaining significant follow-on capacity to support strong portfolio performers into their growth stages, where the fund continues to see massive upside potential. 

Doubling down on TLcom Capital’s established presence in West and East Africa, the fund has already made its first investments in South Africa and Egypt with LittleFish, a software company enabling payments and banking products for retail-focused SMBs, headquartered in Cape Town, and ILLA, a middle-mile logistics platform headquartered in Cairo.

Maurizio Caio, Founder and Managing Partner at TLcom Capital, said: “TLcom now counts among a small number of venture capital firms that have raised multiple substantial funds for technology in Africa. This is a testament to the quality of our team and the trust we’ve established with our limited partners. It’s also a major endorsement of our long-term view on Africa’s massive upside.”

“We are maintaining the same investment strategy for TIDE Africa Fund II as we had for our first fund, which made over 80% of its investments at Seed or Series A. With this final close, we’re thrilled that TLcom is in an even stronger position to continue to partner with Africa’s most talented entrepreneurs from early in their company-building journeys. We’re also excited to spend more time in the Egyptian ecosystem, co-investing alongside the most active local funds. TLcom is well on its way to realising our ambition of becoming Africa’s most sought-after early-stage VC and a truly pan-African firm.”

Since TLcom Capital announced TIDE Africa Fund II’s first close in January 2022, the firm has also significantly expanded its team, adding investment and operational capacity by doubling its headcount to 15 employees, including new investment professionals in Nigeria and Kenya.

“Across Africa, access to capital remains limited, especially for early-stage startups,” said Ambroise Fayolle, Vice President and Head of Investments at the European Investment Bank. 

“At the same time, a young, technology-savvy population provides fertile ground for young companies. Africa's startup ecosystem has the potential to drive inclusive economic growth and foster positive social change, which the EIB is happy to support. Through our investment in TLcom’s TIDE Africa II Fund, we expect to build and expand on the success and impact of the first TIDE Africa Fund, delivering much-needed capital to the most promising high-growth companies.”

“Our investment in TIDE Africa Fund II demonstrates our dedication to helping build strong economies where businesses can prosper and generate substantial financial and impact returns. We are impressed by TLcom's track record of supporting visionary entrepreneurs in developing high-growth business models that can capitalise on Africa's considerable economic potential,” said Najada Kumbuli, Vice President & Head of Investments, Visa Foundation. 

“The firm's alignment with Visa Foundation's mission reinforces our confidence that, through this partnership, our capital will help create the next generation of successful and diverse entrepreneurs that will shape the future of the continent."

With its new fund, TLcom Capital plans to deploy significant additional capital into female-founded African tech startups, building on the firm’s June 2022 co-investment commitment of $2 million to FirstCheck Africa, a female-focused pre-seed fund.

TLcom Capital’s commitment to gender balance is reflected in its majority-female partnership and investment committee.

TLcom Capital, Africa’s largest Seed and Series A investor, currently has over $300m under management.  

Its portfolio counts 17 startups, including Andela, Ajua, Autochek, Fairmoney, Ilara Health, ILLA, Kobo360, LittleFish, Okra,  Pula, Seamless HR, Shara, Terragon Group, Twiga, uLesson, Vendease and Zone.

TLcom Capital has a solid track record of attracting Africa’s most successful repeat founders, including Sim Shagaya (founder of uLesson, Konga and DealDey), Etop Ikpe (founder of Autochek and Cars45) and Grant Brooke (co-founder of Shara and Twiga).

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