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FirstCheck Africa

FirstCheck Africa Adds $2M Commitment from TLcom to its $10M Debut Fund

TLcom Capital, an Africa-focused venture capital firm, has committed $2 million to FirstCheck Africa, and Oname Eloho, one of its founders, has joined TLcom Capital as a Partner.

This allows FirstCheck Africa to support even more female-led startups by giving them access to more capital.

Alongside its $10 million debut fund, FirstCheck Africa will be investing $12 million as a single pool of capital against its strategy of backing high-growth, technology-driven startups with at least one female founder or co-founder.

The female-focused African venture firm will now invest up to $250,000 as high conviction first checks into early-stage rounds for female-led startups.

Three years ago, just 5 female-led companies in Africa raised $1mn or more in early-stage rounds. Last year, the number was 33, and so far this year, the VC firm counts 19, including 6 companies this month, of which FirstCheck Africa is an investor in 3.

FirstCheck Africa said in a statement: “We’re excited that what started as personal commitments to invest up to $25k each in six female-led companies has evolved into an institutional fund with millions of dollars under management. In the last 18 months, FirstCheck Africa has invested in 10 female-led startups in four countries.

“Our portfolio companies have been accepted into three global accelerators (including Y Combinator), and a number have raised sizeable follow-on rounds, with FirstCheck Africa as the first or second institutional investor on their cap tables. We’ve opened doors for female-led companies, helping them close their rounds faster and on founder-friendlier terms.”

It adds: “We’re a small fund with big ambitions, and we’ve designed our portfolio strategy with our founders’ needs in mind. Access to capital is a primary and complex challenge for female-led companies. It’s essential for a mission-oriented early-stage, female-focused fund to bring sufficient capital to give young companies the runway to focus on traction above all else while giving them the confidence to pursue disciplined fundraises when the time comes.

“Through our debut fund, we will make targeted investments at pre-seed, keep the capacity to double-down with follow-on investments when the most promising of those companies are ready for seed capital and retain some flexibility to invest for the first time at the seed stage, where a female-led company might have raised a previous institutional round.”

FirstCheck Africa’s mission is to advance equity, capital and leadership for a generation of women in Africa through technology and entrepreneurship. It will continue to focus on making it easier for ambitious African women to raise early-stage venture capital by writing checks.

In January 2021, Eloho and Odun launched FirstCheck Africa as an angel fund to address capital access for female tech entrepreneurs in Africa.