(Bloomberg) -- TLcom, an Africa-focused technology investment firm with a portfolio of 12 startups, raised the first $70 million of a new fund that will help it expand into countries such as Egypt. 

Backers include German financial giant Allianz SE through its AfricaGrow unit, British development-finance institution CDC Group and Nigerian private-equity firm FBNQuest Capital Ltd., Maurizio Caio, founder and managing partner, said in an interview. The final target is to attract $150 million of capital by November, he said.

“We would really like to get exposure to Egypt in addition to what we have done where we are sitting in Lagos and Kenya,” he said. “We see Egyptian entrepreneurs going into sub-Saharan Africa, so we want to get exposure.”

International investment firms are increasingly targeting African tech startups to take advantage of accelerating connectivity, faster data speeds and the popularity of mobile finance on the continent of 1.4 billion people. TLcom’s portfolio includes Twiga Foods, a mobile platform for the sale of fresh and packaged food, and Nigerian online car-services firm Autocheck.

African tech startups raised a record $5 billion in funding last year with U.S.-based investors dominating the space. Egypt is becoming a key entrepreneurial country in its own right, attracting 2021 startup investment of at least $438 million. That’s a sixfold increase from 2018, according to Briter Intelligence, a London-based company that tracks the data.

“There is very good education and innovation supported by the university hubs in Cairo,” Miguel Azevedo, Citigroup Inc.’s head of investment banking in the Middle East and Africa, said in an interview. “The government has been very supportive of the digitization especially through the Covid pandemic.” 

TLcom, which has $350 million in assets under management, expects to invest in an additional 20 early-stage startups with the fresh funding, looking at injections of $500,000 to $15 million.


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