TLcom Capital, the Africa-focussed venture capital firm, has officially announced the launch of the 2021 Africa Tech Female Founder Summit, which will be held virtually on Wednesday 13th October 2021. The keynote session is headlined by Julia Gillard, former Prime Minister of Australia and Chair of Andela, who will discuss how founders should think about establishing and working with their boards from early-stage growth to scale. With the event now being held for the third successive year, TLcom has opened applications for female tech founders across Africa and the Diaspora to attend this year’s virtual summit, which also features female C-Suite executives from Africa’s leading tech startups including Desiree Craig of uLesson, Mayokun Fadeyibi of Autochek, Kristen Kelly of Terragon, and Susan Kiama of Twiga Foods.
Themed “Board and C-Suite Matters – Counsel, Coach and Collaborate”, the third Female Founder Summit will deliver expert insights on how to build and leverage a senior team and board to drive strong execution and growth. The goal of the summit is to build an even larger community of female tech founders in Africa that can be a support for one another as they scale their businesses. Julia Gillard’s keynote will be followed by an open Q&A session with attendees as well as a panel discussion on how to attract, motivate and retain high-quality senior talent,moderated by Eloho Omame, co-founder of FirstCheck Africa. .
Speaking on the event, Omobola Johnson, Senior Partner at TLcom Capital, says, “Over the last 18 months, African tech has broken into a completely new threshold of investment activity and as the ecosystem continues to mature, founders are being exposed to an entirely new set of challenges. From our conversations with entrepreneurs in our network, the most pressing of these issues lie in building a core team both above and below a founder and ensuring they all work in the interests of the organisation. If we want our sector to continue on its current trajectory, it’s vital we equip founders to successfully execute these processes both in terms of establishing a more deliberate C-Level hiring strategy and effectively partnering with their boards to amplify the value generation process for their businesses.”
Due to the global pandemic, TLcom’s 2020 Female Founder Summit was also held as a virtual event with over 100 tech female entrepreneurs and executives from across the continent gathering to experience the power of connecting, learning and being a resource to each other. The 2021 virtual conference has been complemented by local networking cocktail events in Nairobi and Lagos.
Andreata Muforo, Partner at TLcom Capital, adds “Whilst the evolution of a board may present a new journey for founders across African tech, we cannot deny that there are fundamental differences in how female entrepreneurs are viewed in these settings. Women in leadership still have to deal with harmful stereotypes and biases irrespective of their position but a strong and supportive network can make a huge difference in this journey. This is why the Female Founder Summit is so important as nobody understands our experiences like other women and in Julia, and our incredible panellists, we’re delighted to have people who can not only identify with our attendees, but can also share expert strategies on how to navigate these spaces.”
TLcom’s TIDE Africa Fund, which is one of the most active funds across Sub-Saharan Africa, boasts a leadership team which is 50% female and has actively supported female founders not only through its annual summit, but notably through its recent investments in female-led startups over the last 18 months such as Okra and Pula. The fund also recently welcomed the first unicorn into its portfolio after Andela’s $200mn Series E round valued the company at $1.5bn.
Currently, TLcom manages total commitments of approximately 200mn USD and holds eleven African startups in its portfolio including Andela, Ajua, Autochek, Ilara Health, Kobo360, Okra, Pula, Shara, Terragon Group, Twiga Foods and uLesson. With an on-the-ground presence in Kenya and Nigeria as well as offices in the UK, the firm invests across all stages of the venture capital cycle and a wide range of industries including agriculture, education, data analytics and logistics.