TechInAfrica — TLcom Capital, a venture capital (VC) firm has closed its Tide Africa Fund at $71-million with plans to make investments for up to 12 startups over the next 18 months.
According to TLcom Managing Partner Maurizio Caio, the group, which has offices in London, Lagos, and Nairobi, is looking for tech-enabled, revenue-driven ventures in Africa from seed-stage to Series B.
“We’re rather a sector agnostic, but right now we are looking at companies that are more infrastructure type tech rather than super commoditized things like consumer lending,” he remarked.
Geographically, TLcom Capital will focus mainly on startups in big-three tech hubs in Africa, namely Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. However, it is also eyeing rising markets, such as Ethiopia.
According to Caio, Part of the fund’s investment approach is backing viable companies with strong founders and then staying out of the way.
“We are venture capitalists that believe in looking at Africa as an investment opportunity that empowers local entrepreneurs without… coming in and explaining what to do,” said Caio.
TLcom’s team includes Caio (from Italy), partners Ido Sum (from Israel), Andreata Muforo (from Zimbabwe) and senior partner Omobola Johnson, the former Minister of Communication Technology in Nigeria.
Mentioning on an occasion, Johnson offered perspective on the next startups in Africa that could reach billion-dollar valuations. “When I look at the African market I suspect it’s going to be a company that’s very much focused on business to business and business to very small business — a company that can that can solve their challenges.”
TLcom’s current portfolio consists of Africa startups that reflects the company similar to what Johnson described. The fund has invested in Nigerian trucking logistics venture Kobo360, which is working to reduce business delivery costs in Africa.
Other than Kobo360, the firm 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 led by Goldman Sachs, a US investment bank.