BusinessDay

TLcom hires Omame to bridge funding gap to female founders

TLcom Capital, the Africa-focused venture capital firm, has announced the recruitment of Eloho Omame as a Partner to bolster its growing focus on funding female founders.

Female-owned tech companies have often received the short end of the stick in terms of funding flow to startups in Africa and other parts of the world.

Last year, the share of funding raised by female-owned tech companies stood at 6.5 percent, an insignificant sum considering that the tech ecosystem harvested over $5 billion in funding.

Omame is well known in the ecosystem as an advocate for increasing the amount of funding accessible to female founders. In 2021, she and Eweniyi Odunayo, COO of Piggytech Global Limited, founded FirstCheck. FirstCheck is a fund created to provide funding for female-owned and female-led tech companies.

Recently FirstCheck announced it was launching a $10 million fund. With Omame joining TLcom, the VC firm has pledged to support FirstCheck Africa’s $10 million debut fund with a $2 million co-investment commitment from its TIDE Africa Fund II.

TIDE Africa Fund II is a new $150 million pan-African tech fund targeting investments in 20 African countries. In January, TLcom announced the closure of a $70 million funding for the TIDE Africa Fund II.

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TLcom said it has gained even greater momentum, with a number of additional commitments to its fund and significant new deal flow for its growing portfolio. The firm recently led a $10mn Series A round in Seamless HR, a Nigerian platform providing payroll and HR software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions to companies in Africa and a seed round in Pastel, a Nigerian fintech company.

Hiring Omame is to further enable effective deployment of the fund as she is expected to focus on TLcom’s primary remit of seed to Series B investments in high-growth, tech-enabled startups. Eloho will also bring more senior capacity to TLcom’s high-touch approach with entrepreneurs and support deal flow generation at the pre-seed stage, as the firm doubles down on its commitment to Africa’s thriving tech opportunity.

“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.”

With a professional career spanning more than 20 years, including time at General Atlantic, FirstBank Nigeria and Credit Suisse, Eloho brings a wealth of expertise to the team. An important contributor to the startup and venture capital ecosystem in Africa, she has worked with several of Africa’s leading entrepreneurs, companies and teams, supporting their ambition to transform the continent’s heavily underserved markets and economies. As the founding Managing Director of Endeavor Nigeria, she led the company’s mission to drive high-impact entrepreneurship, creating a leading membership community that includes tech founders from pioneering startups such as Paga, Migo and Flutterwave.

Eloho’s track record in early-stage investing will prove vital as TLcom expands its current portfolio from 13 companies to 30. With TLcom widening the range of its core ticket sizes to $500k – $15mn, 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.

“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. 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,” Caio said.

Eloho’s appointment increases TLcom’s experienced and growing team from four to five Partners, comprising Founder and Managing Partner Maurizio Caio based in Kenya, Senior Partner Omobola Johnson based in Nigeria, and Partners Andreata Muforo in Kenya, and Ido Sum in the UK. With the new addition, TLcom’s senior leadership is now 60 percent female.

“It’s 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,” Eloho Omame, Partner at TLcom.

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