Venture capital firm, TLcom Capital on Tuesday held its inaugural Africa Tech Female Founder Summit. The program is aimed at building a collaborative network of female founders in the African tech ecosystem.
At the summit, over 50 female founders from across the continent took to the stage to share insights on achieving massive value generation and scale in the continent, the company said in a statement.
Founders present included Odunayo Eweniyi of Piggyvest, Isis Nyong’o of Mum’s Village, Vivien Nwakah of Medsaf and Miishe Addy of Jet Stream. Also in attendance were senior female executives from TLcom’s portfolio companies including Twiga Foods, Kobo360, Terragon, Andela, and Ajua.
“A clear message that should be taken away from the Summit is that the glass ceiling on female leadership can and will be broken,” said Funke Opeke, founder and CEO of Main One while delivering the keynote speech.
Giving a talk on her career journey, she said: “For incoming and incumbent women in our sector, today is a powerful display of what is possible throughout Africa’s tech scene. We had entrepreneurs from a variety of fields but what we all shared were common experiences and a shared vision for change.”
Opeke further said that it was critical that present female tech leaders take what they have learned back into their respective networks and share them with the next generation. “It’s only then that we will begin to see (a) real transformation,” she added.
In addition, interactive sessions were held on the ever-changing role of the founder, the fundraising journey as well as attracting and retaining talent. There was also an in-depth fireside chat between TLcom’s Senior Partner, Omobola Johnson and Iris Shoor, serial entrepreneur and CEO of an Israeli tech startup, Oribi.
Reflecting on the event, Johnson pointed out that while female participation in tech has generally improved, female tech founders are still a rare breed. However, she continued, “there is a growing number of female trailblazers in African tech and we at TLcom believe this is a critical network to nurture and support.”
Andreata Muforo, Partner at TLcom, also added that “With our senior team currently 50 percent female, supporting diversity is already part of our DNA and with events such as the Africa Tech Female Founder Summit, our team does and will continue to dedicate resources to mentoring female founders.”
The Summit is expected to hold on an annual basis, TLcom said while it plans to encourage more of its portfolio companies to boost female representation in their organizations.
Awarded the Most Active Venture Capital firm in Africa last year by the EMPEA, the summit is an additional display of the TLcom’s commitment to being an “on-the-ground presence in African tech,” it said.
Earlier this year, TLcom was also presented with the Specialist Investor Award at the 2019 Private Equity Africa Awards and participated in Kobo360’s recent $30 million Series A fundraise and Twiga’s $30 million Series B fundraise – two of the largest in African tech this year.
Launched in 1999, TLcom Capital manages total commitments of approximately $300 million with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa. The 20-year old venture capital firm has offices in Lagos, Nairobi, and London.
Over time, it has developed a broad portfolio covering agriculture, data analytics, and logistics, focusing exclusively on technology-enabled services and innovation for the region, across all stages of the venture capital cycle.