- London-based venture capital firm TLcom Capital is expanding its presence on the continent with the opening of it Lagos office. The firm, initially focused on backing telecom, media and technology ventures in Europe and Israel, has turned its attention to sub-Saharan Africa in recent years.
- TLcom opened its Nairobi office in 2013 and has recently appointed Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s former minister of communication technology, to head up the Lagos office. Johnson has previous private sector experience as the managing director of Accenture in Nigeria.
- Maurizio Caio, TLcom’s founder and managing partner, first recognised the continent’s opportunity a few years ago when he saw how well some European companies with an African focus were doing. He believes there is a considerable opportunity for African tech companies to leverage existing technology to solve problems and meet basic needs, such as access to electricity, health, education and commerce.
Despite the hype around the middle class, the vast majority of big, rising demand on the continent is coming from low-income segments,” he said at a media round table in Cape Town yesterday.
There’s gigantic demand for vast underserved verticals. And there’s very affordable technology – that is mobile and internet – which is actually much more penetrative [in providing] the services and products that people really need. That’s the opportunity.
He added this misconception is aligned with the “myth” that venture capitalists cannot achieve profitable exits from their investments in African companies.
“If you have a good company, you can exit,” he continued. “It is a not an exit problem – it is a quality of company problem