Based in London, Nairobi and Lagos, TLcom Capital funds innovative African start-ups working with technology based on mobile phones and digital applications. “We believe that technology enables innovative business models to establish themselves in large underserved or inefficient markets in Africa,” says Andreata Muforo, a partner in the investment fund. This targeted strategy is aimed at facilitating “access to digital innovations for the most fragile and isolated populations” according to Muforo, an expert in business financing who has worked for the African Development Bank.
Supporting the African entrepreneurial ecosystem
In just a few years, TLcom Capital has supported a dozen innovative start-ups, including Twiga Foods, a digital platform developed in Kenya, which connects a multitude of African food retailers and provides good quality products at affordable costs. The investment fund also supports Andela, a company that trains the most talented young computer developers in Africa, in Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda. There is also the uLesson start-up in the Edtech sector, active in a dozen African countries, or Kobo360 in the e-logistics sector. Each of these start-ups has been offered a capital contribution, as well as broader support in the form of strategic, operational and financial mentoring.
This is an opportunity for these start-ups to scale up. However, selection is tough: the fund indicates that it examines “a hundred or so applications before choosing just one”, with the help of an algorithm for pre-selecting applications.
TLcom Capital also undertakes initiatives to support the African entrepreneurial ecosystem, which include, for example, holding executive summits several times a year. “We also organise the annual Africa Tech Female Founder Summit, which brings together more than 140 female entrepreneurs who benefit from mentoring and networking sessions with all our partners” says Andreata Muforo.
Proparco, a long-standing partner of TLcom Capital
In 2017, Proparco’s participation enabled TLCom Capital to complete its first round of financing in the order of €40 million, notably from the European Investment Bank (EIB), the African Development Bank (ADB) and First Bank of Nigeria. “Proparco played a key role in helping TLcom Capital raise capital at a time when there were few venture capital investors in the African technology sector” says Andreata Muforo. “We have also invested alongside Proparco in some of our portfolio companies.”