Exclusive: Tofino Capital Invests USD 150 K In Nigerian HRtech Startup SeamlessHR

By  |  March 25, 2019

Tofino Capital, an early-stage investor in emerging market technology companies, has made a seed investment of USD 150 K in Lagos-based SeamlessHR, an HR technology company with a commitment to helping African businesses become more productive and successful.

Head of sales and and marketing at SeamlessHR, Seye Bandele, told Weetracker that the funds will be used to grow the team, double down on expansion into Anglophone Africa, as well as to bolster marketing efforts.

Innovation For Human Capital Development

According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), Africa is experiencing tectonic shifts in demographics, economics, tech, politics and the environment that are severely affecting the 1-billion people resource in the region. As the population is projected and set to double by 2050, the most significant asset of the continent would be its capacity to harness human capital. Most resource-rich African countries are in the lack of specialized training schemes to manage their natural wealth.

Human capital is a critical factor for economic growth, featuring as on for the strategic axes of the African Union Plan of Action for the Acceleration of Industrial Development in Africa, the Agenda 2063 and AfDB’s new Human Capital Development Strategy. What stirs more curiosity is the abundance of potential workforce in Africa, as the region is home to more than a billion people, a more significant percentage of which are under the age of 20. With 30 percent of the world’s known reserves of minerals compounded with a booming population, the underdeveloped capacities and continued imported expertise in natural resource management in the continent is unexpected.

Seamless HR amalgamates its commitment to innovation and desire to help African enterprises solve the pressing problems associated with human capital development. The startup’s mission is to transform businesses on the continent by using technology to question and understand problems in order to uncover and activate sustainable solutions that will help African companies, as well as people, become better and more successful.

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Financials For Emerging Companies

Tofino Capital informed Weetracker that the firm was introduced to SeamlessHR by another entrepreneur it had invested in. “We find referrals the most effective mechanism,” says co-founder Eliott Pence. The investor takes a particular interest in Africa’s emerging markets, with an investment strategy shedding limelight on B2B tech companies, proven entrepreneurs with operational backgrounds and businesses with repeatable business models. As a result, Tofino Capital can relocate enterprises that fall neatly under its focus from a place such as Nigeria to the Philippines for them to fair more easily.

Tofino Capital, which was set up in 2018 by Eliot Pence and Aubrey Hruby, has made two investments in the last eight months, with hopes to back five more businesses before the end of the year. The fund gave financial support to Nigerian B2B company Gloopro and is “excited about the impact we can make in the space.” The firm focuses on providing operational alpha to the entrepreneurs it invests in, looking to fully partake in growing the businesses after injecting capital. “Our background as consultants for MNCs investing in EM provides linkages that early-stage enterprises may not have.”

The Washington D.C-based firm takes typically 1 to 10 percent stake in companies its invests in. Okay with leading funding rounds, the firm is generally driven by opportunistic approaches. The firm, who declined to reveal its fund size,  is “razor-focused” on helping its portfolio companies’ get new clients and customers. Seamless HR perceives its recent investor to be a partner “Because they have been very useful to us in terms of business growth with direct influence on furthering our efforts to become the biggest HR tech company out of Africa”.

Note: This report has been updated with comments and clarification per the investment from SeamlessHR.

Feature image courtesy: SeamlessHR

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