VC firm TLcom Capital expands into pre-seed, adds fifth partner

AFRICAAfrica-focused VC firm TLcom Capital has expanded its deal flow generation into the pre-seed area while also starting to target Egyptian ventures.

Founded in 1999 and with offices in Lagos, Nairobi and London, TLcom has US$350 million of assets under management across Africa and Europe, and in January 2022 announced the first close of its US$150 million TIDE Africa Fund II.

The TLcom portfolio includes Twiga Foods, Andela, uLesson, and Kobo360, among others, and it has completed two exits. It is now expanding its capabilities as it ramps up deployment of its new fund.

“With the launch of our new fund, we are more committed than ever to Africa. As we partner with more entrepreneurs, it is vital that we are able to maintain our existing level of high-quality, on-the-ground strategic support to unlock the full value-generation potential of these companies,” said Maurizio Caio, founder and managing partner at TLcom.

“With our portfolio companies, and our investors, we are building for the long term and fully focused on the upside of the tech sector.”

TLcom has also taken Eloho Omame as a fifth partner.

Omame is co-founder and general partner at FirstCheck Africa, a female-focused early-stage venture capital firm that has to-date invested in 10 high-growth tech startups with a female founder or co-founder.

She will combine her new role at TLcom with her existing responsibilities at FirstCheck Africa, which with TLcom to support the launch of FirstCheck Africa’s US$10 million debut fund with a US$2 million co-investment commitment from TIDE Africa Fund II.

TLcom said Omame would bring more senior capacity to its high-touch approach with entrepreneurs and support deal flow generation at the pre-seed stage, as the firm doubled down on its commitment to Africa’s thriving tech opportunity.

There will be even greater emphasis on attracting more female-led companies into TLcom’s portfolio.

Her track record in early-stage investing will “prove vital” as TLcom expands its current portfolio from 13 companies to 30.

“We are especially proud to strengthen our team with a partner of Eloho’s calibre – a seasoned investor who mirrors our founder-first ethos, and will play a critical role in enabling us to deepen our commitment to the founder journey in Africa through her early-stage experience,” Maurizio added.

“Equally, her expertise will prove invaluable in strengthening our existing support for female entrepreneurs. We look forward to working with Eloho to drive the next phase of our mission to transform Africa’s key verticals through tech-enabled solutions.”

Omame said it was an honour to join “one of the most prestigious investors in African tech”.

TLcom has seen the benefits of an early-stage approach through the success of both new and repeat founders in TIDE Africa Fund I. As we deploy capital from TIDE Africa Fund II, it’s crucial that we continue to win the race to find the continent’s best entrepreneurs and support their companies to scale,” she said.

“The firm has always demonstrated its commitment to Africa and to the development of its startup ecosystem.

“It’s exciting to be in a position of mission-alignment with respect to female founders and I’m thrilled to step up the important work we’ve started at FirstCheck Africa with this incredible show of support from an established, high-calibre fund like TLcom.”

With TLcom widening the range of its core ticket sizes to US$500,000 – US$15 million, the firm will continue to primarily target seed to Series B founders that are tackling some of the continent’s most complex challenges in sectors including fintech, mobility, agriculture, healthcare, education and ecommerce.

Geographically, TLcom will expand its traditional focus on East and West Africa to include North Africa, starting with Egypt.

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