TLcom achieves second profitable African exit of 2014 with Movirtu sale

By Tom Jackson, South Africa

Venture capital firm TLcom Capital (TLcom) has announced its second profitable exit in Africa this year with the sale for an undisclosed fee of virtual identity solutions provider for mobile operators Movirtu to BlackBerry.

TLcom was the lead investor in Movirtu from 2010, and the sale now sees it achieve a cash-on-cash return in excess of twice that initial investment, months after it exited Upstream, another key asset in its Sub-Saharan African portfolio, also with a cash on cash return.

The company said it supported Movirtu in gaining commercial traction with the likes of Bharti Airtel and other mobile operators in Sub-Saharan Africa and other markets, while providing financial and strategic resources to allow Movirtu to leverage the full potential of its technology to tap into the growth of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend.

“The Movirtu exit validates TLcom's belief that relevant venture backed technology and innovation can accelerate inclusive access to basic services in Africa and other developing markets, while attracting the strategic interest of global technology leaders and achieving profitable investment returns,” said Maurizio Caio, managing partner of TLcom.

“We look forward to completing more profitable exits from our current portfolio and to further explore Africa related opportunities associated with technology and innovation for value generation.”

The two successful exits have allowed TLcom to return in excess of 50 per cent of its current fund to its investors, while it is now in the process of raising its Technology and Innovation for Developing Economies (TIDE) Africa Fund, which will focus on fast growth scalable companies leveraging largely existing technologies and innovative business models.


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