TLcom Capital closes second fund at $154 million

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April 23, 2024
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6 min read
TLcom Capital partners, Ido Sum, Omobolaji Johnson, Andreata Muforo, Maurizio Caio, and Eloho Omame
TLcom Capital partners, Ido Sum, Omobolaji Johnson, Andreata Muforo, Maurizio Caio, and Eloho Omame

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Ciao,

Victoria from Techpoint here,

Here's what I've got for you today:

  • TLcom Capital closes its second fund at $154 million
  • African startups need exits
  • Escaped Binance bigshot arrested in Kenya
  • M-KOPA and Bolt to launch over 5,000 e-bikes

TLcom Capital closes its second fund at $154 million

TLcom Capital partners, Ido Sum, Omobolaji Johnson, Andreata Muforo, Maurizio Caio, and Eloho Omame
TLcom Capital partners, Ido Sum, Omobolaji Johnson, Andreata Muforo, Maurizio Caio, and Eloho Omame

TLcom Capital has sealed the deal on its TIDE Africa Fund II, raising a whopping $154 million, beating its initial $150 million target. 

This fund is geared towards seeding and nurturing startups across the continent, with a focus now expanding into North Africa, starting with Egypt.

Its investor lineup is impressive, with heavyweights like the European Investment Bank, AfricaGrow, Visa Foundation, and Bertelsmann joining in addition to returning investors like IFC and CDC Group.

TLcom's not just sticking to sub-Saharan Africa anymore; it’s spreading its wings to North Africa, starting with Egypt. It’s already made two investments: one in South African fintech startup Littlefish and the second in Egyptian logistics startup ILLA.

What's its investment strategy? Sticking to what's worked before – focusing on seed and Series A, with initial checks ranging from $1 million to $3 million and keeping some cash aside for follow-ons.

And it’s doubling down on supporting female founders, with 30% of its portfolio already led by women. Eloho Omame, who co-founded the female-focused fund FirstCheck, has even joined TLcom as a Partner, bringing her expertise to the table.

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Its track record speaks volumes: 17 startups backed, including the unicorn Andela, and a first fund that paved the way for successes like Kobo360 and Twiga Foods. It also manages over $300 million in assets.

And it’s not stopping there. TLcom is betting heavily on female founders, with 30% of its portfolio already led by women. With more cash in the kitty, it is eager to increase those figures even more.


African startups need exits

funding

Does delivering exits make the African VC scene attractive? Maurizio Caio, the big boss at TLcom Capital, reckons that delivering successful exits is what's gonna keep the African VC scene buzzing. But hold up, let's backtrack a bit.

Between 2020 and 2022, African startups were on fire, smashing fundraising records left and right. We're talking unicorns like Wave and Flutterwave making waves in the scene. But things took a turn for the worse last year.

Startup funding started drying up, and even heavy hitters like Chipper Cash, mPharma, and Paystack felt the pinch, with some even having to lay off staff or shut down completely.

This whole situation forced venture capitalists to rethink their game plans. Foreign VCs started pulling back, and suddenly everyone was all about profitability rather than just throwing money around.

So, what's the vibe among VCs about the funding situation in Africa? Maurizio Caio spilled the beans in an interview with Chimgozirim. Basically, he said that despite the tightening purse strings, VC investment in portfolio companies is holding steady. But now, they're being super picky about where they put their cash.

As for investors pumping money into VC funds, Maurizio's feeling pretty positive. TLcom Capital just closed a massive $154 million fund, which is one of the biggest Africa-focused funds around. It's a far cry from when they first started out, taking three years to raise funds and not exactly being the popular kids on the block.

For more juicy details, you can check out Chimgozirim's full story.


Escaped Binance bigshot arrested in Kenya 

A portrait of Nadeem Anjarwalla, Binance employee detained in Nigeria
Nadeem Anjarwalla

Nadeem Anjarwalla, the Binance big shot who made a run for it from custody in Nigeria, has been arrested by the Kenya Police. It's said that he'll be shipped back to Nigeria in about a week, thanks to INTERPOL.

Word has it that he was spotted in Kenya recently, and the authorities wasted no time in nabbing him. The EFCC, INTERPOL, and police from Nigeria and Kenya have been chatting up a storm to speed up his extradition.

Just to jog your memory, Anjarwalla and his buddy Tigran Gambaryan got themselves in hot water back in February 2024. 

Gambaryan got left holding the bag in Nigeria's Kuje Correctional Centre after Anjarwalla pulled a disappearing act, even though they were both charged with some serious stuff like tax evasion and money laundering.

Anjarwalla apparently made a break for it using a sneaky Kenyan passport after his British one got snatched up. 

The EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, spilled the beans in March, saying they've got a whole squad of international heavy-hitters like INTERPOL, the FBI, and governments from the UK, Northern Ireland, and Kenya working to bring Anjarwalla to justice.

Meanwhile, Gambaryan's been trying his luck with bail, but it seems the court's not too keen on the idea, especially after Anjarwalla's vanishing act. They've pushed back his bail hearing to April 22, 2024. 

It's definitely a case worth keeping an eye on! Or what do you think?


M-KOPA and Bolt to launch over 5,000 e-bikes

a man on an electric motorcycle

M-KOPA, a Kenyan fintech company, and Bolt are teaming up to roll out electric motorcycles in Kenya. Over the next three years, they're planning to introduce more than 5,000 e-bikes, all managed by M-KOPA's Mobility division. 

This partnership aims to offer flexible digital micropayments for drivers, making it easier for them to access these eco-friendly rides.

It's pretty cool because Kenya recently released its draft National E-mobility Policy, which is expected to boost the local production and assembly of electric vehicles. 

With Bolt teaming up with M-KOPA, drivers can lease ROAM and Ampersand e-bikes at a discounted rate compared to regular market prices. This move is expected to slash ownership costs by around 40% compared to traditional petrol bikes.

To get their hands on these e-bikes, drivers need to join the fleet through financing arranged by M-KOPA, ROAM, and Ampersand. Then, they have to exclusively operate on the Bolt platform and will eventually own the bikes after the lease period.

What's really neat about this is that these e-bikes have zero emissions and require less maintenance than regular vehicles. So, not only will it help drivers save money, but it's also a win for the environment. 

Bolt has been all about eco-friendly initiatives in Africa since 2019, investing in projects focused on renewable energy and resource conservation.

And get this, M-KOPA Mobility's Managing Director, David Damberger, is all about making mobility more affordable for Kenyans, especially those who are underbanked.


In case you missed it

What I'm reading and watching  

Opportunities   

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  • If you have an early-stage startup, apply for Pitch2Win to pitch your ideas to a panel of esteemed judges and investors. The selected startups will vie for a grand prize of $10,000 equity-free funding and an all-expense-paid trip to IVS2024 Kyoto, Japan. Apply by May 5, 2024, here.
  • Apply for Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) by May 6, 2024, here
  • Seedstars has announced  INFUSE 2024, a global invitation for innovative applications aimed at fortifying health systems against climate threats and improving immunisation delivery. Apply here.
  • Explore this website to find multiple job opportunities in Data that align with your preferences.
  • If you are a software engineer, creative designer, product manager, design researcher, or a techie looking for an internship role, please, check out this website.

Have a tremendous Tuesday!

Victoria Fakiya for Techpoint Africa.

She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.

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