TLcom launched in London two decades ago and now has over US$300 million under management and tech investments spanning Europe, Israel and the United States (US).
The TIDE Africa Fund will provide capital and business building support to African entrepreneurs developing technology-driven solutions to the continent’s problems, and will make equity investments from early to growth stage in the US$500,000 to US$10 million range.
It will focus on fast growing scalable companies leveraging the high penetration of mobile to serve the African market in large underserved consumer and corporate verticals such as financial services, commerce, energy, health and education. Due diligence is already underway on the first round of investments.
“In recent years the TLcom team has invested heavily in the Africa VC opportunity. We have opened offices in Nairobi and Lagos, looked at hundreds of tech entrepreneurs in Africa, and successfully invested and exited the best among the first generation of African mobile startups, such as Upstream and Movirtu,” said Maurizio Caio, founder and managing partner of TLcom.
“While the Africa tech ecosystem is still maturing, we don’t see why Africa is any different from other tech investment opportunities across the globe in terms of the magnitude of the investment upside.”
The fund has a target of US$100 million, with investors so far including the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the European Investment Bank (EIB), committing US$10 million each. African, American and European corporate investors and family offices such as FBN Capital and the Silicon Valley-based Bob King are also involved.
“From the high quality of entrepreneurs to the opportunity of building companies serving large markets that are highly valued by global acquirers and capital markets, all the ingredients are now in place for Africa to become the world’s next attractive tech investing destination” said TLcom partner Ido Sum.
Omobola Johnson, Lagos-based senior partner of TLcom and Nigeria’s former minister of communication technology, said TIDE Africa offered a great opportunity to the company’s investor partners and to global private capital to achieve significant returns while supporting tech entrepreneurs working to create solutions for local and global markets.
“We look forward to finalising our first deals and working closely with African entrepreneurs to help them reach their full potential,” she said.