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All posts by Martin Carstens: Senior reporter

Martin Carstens: Senior reporter
Martin is obsessed with technology and the future. His work life includes positions at UK based Hotcourses.com, Discovery Invest and currently, Memeburn.
  • Steve Ballmer to startups: ‘take a long-term view’

    As Microsoft charts a new course under Satya Nadella, the company's former head and now Microsoft board member, Steve Ballmer, has been candid about his experiences at the Redmond software giant. The ex-CEO's latest public words came via a fireside chat hosted by Professor Peter Tufano, a long-time friend of Ballmer's and Dean of the Saïd Business School, part of England’s Oxford University. We've extracted some entrepreneurial gems from the talk, but if have an hour to kill, the school has made the entire session available online -- it's worth the watch. Ballmer dropped out of Stanford School of Business...

  • Daredevil startup DonationShop gets charities into ecommerce, for zero down

    Charities are taking an increasingly entrepreneurial approach to sustaining their initiatives. US-based MalaikaForLife, for example, runs an ecommerce store that stocks bracelets produced by a group of 150 women in Tanzania. The proceeds go towards providing them with a source of sustainable income and for stamping out malaria in the region. Then there's DoGoodBuyUs, a type of Etsy for charities, which stocks hundreds of charity made products. The trouble is that in order for a charity to produce these products, they need some kind of starting capital to produce the goods. One option would be to take a micro-financing approach...

  • Globevestor matches global-minded investors with emerging market startups

    Emerging market startups, especially those at the pre-revenue mark, continue to find access to early-stage capital (US$150 000 to US$1.5-million) challenging. At the same time, global-minded angel investors in Europe and the US are looking to invest in quality emerging market ventures. While news about venture deals continue to trickle out from risk-averse developing economies, Globevestor, a new Silicon Valley-based venture capital platform, is looking to heat up investment opportunities by becoming a conduit through which US and Europe-based angel funding can reach quality startups in emerging regions. Launched in February this year, Globevestor manages the entire investment process online --...

  • How to land seed funding

    There's a very slim chance you know who Steve Schlafman is, but you've probably heard of Turntable.fm, the fleeting viral interactive music sharing service that raised US$7-million, before pivoting to focus on live, interactive music performances as Turntable Live. Schlafman was VP of Business Development at StickyBits, a QR code startup which eventually became Turntable.fm Since then, Schlafman has turned to investing. First joining Lerer Ventures and then RRE Ventures, an early stage investor in New York City with investments in startups like BuzzFeed, Kik, MakerBot and Bitly. While at Lerer, Schlafman focused on seed stage work, and now overlooks Series A...

  • Ex-Rocket Internet crew all-in on Nigerian gift card startup Suregifts

    While the idea of a gift card ecommerce startup isn't exactly novel, Suregifts from Lagos, Nigeria, has the type of VC backing and founder credentials that makes a startup stand out. Suregifts founders Olaoluwa Samuel-Biyi, Adeoye Ojo and Babafemi Lawal are ex-Rocket Internet employees. The German-headquartered company's love affair with Nigeria knows no bounds -- the serial-cloner has been aggressively chasing the country's fast-growing middle class over the last few years. Jumia, essentially an Amazon-clone, is considered Rocket's flagship West African business. Samuel-Biyi joined Rocket Internet to build Jumia Nigeria as Financial Reporter, before advancing into roles in pricing, commercial...

  • Guybox delivers essentials to men who have better things to do than shop

    Guybox is a trimonthly service that sends out packages filled with men's essentials such as underwear, socks and deodorant. This is not a try-before-you-buy subscription service like the ever popular Birchbox or South Africa's Rubybox. Instead, Guybox's mission is to free men from the grind of picking up grooming essentials. The Pretoria-based service is a one man show. Its founder, Oscar Baruffa, says that Guybox delivers the convenience of a curated basket of essentials aimed at men, without the frustration, boredom and time-suck associated with a traditional shopping experience. Subscribers can expect products from brands such as Oral-B, Colgate, L'Oréal, Gillette,...

  • India’s entrepreneurial landscape according to Ernst & Young

    Entrepreneurs in India don't have it easy. Research by Ernst & Young underlines the country's challenging entrepreneurial environment, and yet, of the 20 countries surveyed, India looks poised to become one of the fastest rising stars among the world's emerging economies. Thanks largely to coordinated support championed by India's government, groundwork to address hefty challenges surrounding education and red tape for new ventures have been laid, leading to a burgeoning entrepreneurial culture -- especially in among technology startups. What is the government doing? The Technopreneur Promotion Programme (TePP) aims to help tech innovators become successful entrepreneurs by promoting, supporting and funding...

  • The South African entrepreneurial landscape according to Ernst & Young

    South Africa is a country of extremes when it comes to entrepreneurship, says Ernst & Young. The company reaches this conclusion inside its 2013 G20 Entrepreneurship Barometer report which surveyed 1500 entrepreneurs in countries that include South Africa, Brazil, India, Russia and China as well as more developed nations such as the US, Japan and the UK. The report is important because it allows each country to benchmark its support for entrepreneurs -- a segment that is responsible for 75% of all jobs in China and rose to 67% of all jobs in the European Union in 2012. The report...

  • Mashauri: the rise of the virtual accelerator

    Traditional startup accelerators operate on a tried and tested model: knowledge and cash in exchange for equity. Mashauri, an online accelerator aimed at increasing the success rates of startups across the globe, is trying something different. For a monthly fee, Mashauri will serve up know-how over the web, or if your startup is in its concept stage, advice is free. Mashauri can be considered the scenic route adjacent to a fast-track which includes accelerators like Y Combinator, 500 Startups and 88mph. While the resources and support offered by the latter cannot be discounted, some veteran entrepreneurs require less hand-holding,...

  • iROKING founder Jason Njoku returns as troubled music service’s CEO

    Almost exactly a month following the ousting of former iROKING CEO Michael Ugwu, the ailing Nigerian music service has announced that iROKING founder and original CEO Jason Njoku, will take back the reins. Njoku's return will see him continue his duties as CEO of iROKOtv while taking overall control of iROKING artist management, all aspects of music distribution, including YouTube, iTunes and Amazon distribution, and oversee platform partnerships with the likes of Mxit and Eskimi. Following Ugwu's ousting, the ex-CEO commented on iROKING's ill-health saying that iROKO Partners Lagos has seen its staff decrease from around 80 staff to about...