Peter Cullom

Peter Cullom

I have been working in Private Equity and Venture Capital for over 30 years and through four significant business cycles of growth and recession.

Growing up in the UK, I have lived and worked in Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and South Africa. After four years as a telco sales rep in Germany and an MBA in Belgium, I worked for Price Waterhouse for nine years as an auditor and corporate finance advisor. In my private equity career from 1993 I ran the Frankfurt investment office of 3i Group, was a partner at buyout firm ECM in Frankfurt and worked with Investec Africa Private Equity in Cape Town and London.

Since 2005 and together with a group of like-minded entrepreneurs and investors, I have invested directly and indirectly in over 500 start-ups and early-stage venture capital opportunities as an independent investor.


The future of work

Private and public sectors are increasingly automating their internal processes and procedures and developing new digital services and business models. Covid-19 has significantly accelerated this development.

There are huge opportunities for venture capital to disrupt and make more efficient the way we learn, work, travel, live, finance, organise and care for ourselves. Read automation (including robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning), connectivity (including 5G, smart sensors and the internet of things), remote working, fintech, edtech, healthtech, agritech, e-commerce, e-mobility, e-government, 3D printing,  blockchain, quantum computing etc.


The future of the environment

We are currently on a 4 °C warming trajectory to 2100 and have about 12-15 years to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5 °C to avoid catastrophic water scarcity, extreme heatwaves, reduction of crop yields, acidification of the oceans, rising sea levels, climate-induced poverty and migration flows and overall economic decline.

The move from annually 51 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions to a net-zero carbon economy by 2050 is a huge and historic challenge. This transformation can be significantly accelerated by venture capital financed innovation in producing and storing green (carbon-free) electricity and radically rethinking how we manufacture and consume things, how we grow and treat our food and how we move and travel around.

Climate change and human-induced habitat destruction are causing unprecedented losses of plant, insect, animal and bacterial life. Biodiversity loss and its effect on the environment is the other historic challenge of the 21st century. Here too, venture capital is playing a part in understanding the immensity of the problem and providing solutions.

Demographics Europe

The future of the family

The working age population of Europe will decrease significantly.

Many more Europeans will spend their last 10-20 years coping with illness as the population over 65 doubles and the average life expectancy reaches 90+. The care and medical market is inefficient and costly. Agetech, healthtech and biotech offer considerable opportunities for venture capital to help rethink the the whole concept of care, medicine and medical provision.

Society has in the past inadequately addressed the challenges arising from poverty, inequality, differences in race, gender, origins and mental and physical abilities. Venture capital impact funds are starting to provide new opportunities and technologies for the disadvantaged.

Demographics Africa

The future of Africa

Africa’s population under the age of 25 amounts to 60% (Europe 27%) making Africa with a median age of 19 (Europe 44) the world’s youngest continent. Almost all of the world’s population growth until 2100 (3 billion) will be in Africa increasing its population 3.3x from 1.3 to 4.3 billion.  Currently, too much political instability, ethnic strife, corruption, discrimination, inadequate infrastructure and poor education cause widespread inequality, poverty and hunger. Small businesses, both urban and rural, suffer from poor access to finance and no or irregular electricity.

However, the growing ranks of the educated young think in innovative risk-taking ways and quickly adopt and adapt the newest technologies. Young entrepreneurs are the gateway to higher prosperity in Africa. World-leading developments in fintech, edtech, agritech, healthtech and solar energy are being accelerated and made scaleable across the continent by venture capital investment and support.

Deep tech

From basic science to applied technology

Deep tech technology solutions are based on substantial scientific or engineering challenges and often require lengthy research and development and large capital investment before successful commercialisation.

Deep tech companies address big societal and environmental challenges and have the potential to significantly impact everyday life by creating new markets or disrupting existing ones.

The time required to move from basic science to applicable technology in deep tech exceeds the development time of startups based on widely available technology (“shallow tech”) such as mobile apps, websites, and e-commerce services. Deep tech companies are often started and developed by entrepreneurs with venture capital backing and support before raising larger amounts from later-stage, corporate or public investors.

Green tech

Clean technology solutions

Environmental or clean technology solutions can help to mitigate or reverse the negative effects of human activity on the quality and sustainability of the planet’s environment (water, air, land, biodiversity).

Often green and deep tech go together, as for example in nuclear fusion, lab meat, carbon capture, new battery and electricity storage technologies and agriscience.

A serious and unforeseen worldwide food and energy crisis has arisen as a consequence of the war in Ukraine. This has accelerated the move away from fossil fuels and unsustainable food production towards a more responsible use of resources. Venture capital innovation is enabling exponential changes in environmentally friendly food and energy production and consumption.

Social impact

Sustainable development

Direct and scalable technology, caring or service solutions which can generate a measurable, beneficial social or environmental impact to society in a sustainable and highly effective way thereby contributing in small but meaningful ways to the achievement of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals being:

1. No Poverty 2. Zero Hunger 3. Good Health and Well-being 4. Quality Education 5. Gender Equality 6. Clean Water and Sanitation 7. Affordable and Clean Energy 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 10. Reducing Inequality 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action 14. Life Below Water 15. Life On Land 16. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions 17. Partnerships for the Goals.

Venture Capital Fund Selection Criteria

Getting past the PAST test

Assuming a venture capital fund based in W. Europe and Africa fits into our investment themes of digitalisation, decarbonisation and impact, we use the PAST acronym to describe our approach to analysing and deciding on a commitment.

P = People: 1Team: composition, personalities, skills, leadership, motivation, commitment (time and money) 2. Track record as a fund manager, entrepreneur, founder or angel investor 3. Quality of investors and advisors 4. Communication with investors: open, honest, constructive and timely.

A = Access: 1. Access to quality deal flow through reputation, referrals and networks 2. Deal sourcing approach and process: IT, marketing, profiling.

S = Strategy: 1. Sector, technology, stage, geography, ticket, process 2. Target portfolio: composition, returns, impact, measurement, support.

T = Terms and Conditions: 1. Fund size, structure, costs, jurisdiction 2. Appropriate LPA (Investment and Fund-Investor Limited Partnership Agreement).

Investments in 23 Venture Capital fund platforms since 2016

Micro VC funds Europe

Social impact Europe

Foodtech and agritech

Digital tech

Tech accelerator Africa

Web3 early stage

Climate tech

Digital tech

Climate tech fund of funds

Digital tech secondaries

Software and biotech

High impact entrepreneurs Africa

Digital tech Africa

AI and machine learning

Blockchain start ups

Foodtech and climate tech

Tech start-ups Africa

Venture platforms

Climate tech

Climate tech

Deep tech angel investing

Climate tech accelerator

Digital tech

26 Direct Investments since 2005 of which 12 current portfolio

E-mobility Africa

Charging stations E-cars

Power chips E-cars

E-retrofit buses and trucks

Industrial 3D printing

Telco – VOIP B2B

Telco – MVNOE B2B

Telco/Fibre – B2B cloud services

Telco – MVNO B2B

Telco – MVNO B2C

Remote desktop software

Private schools

Private Kindergarten

Fresh sustainable sushi

Lab cultured meat

Natural aromatherapy

Organic skin care


Medical practices as a service

GP healthtech

Brain imaging software

Automated intralogistics

Automated intralogistics

Solar home energy Africa

E- commerce Africa

Sportwear brands Africa


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