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All posts by Martin Carstens: Senior reporter

Martin Carstens: Senior reporter
Obsessed with technology and the future, I write words for machines and people. Born in South Africa, now living in the United States.
  • 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. Read more on Ventureburn.

  • 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...

  • WhatsFace: Facebook to snap up WhatsApp for $19B in cash, stock

    Boom! Did you see that coming? Facebook says that it has reached an agreement to acquire WhatsApp, for a total of about US$16-billion, including US$4-billion in cash and another US$12-billion in Facebook stock. On top of that, an additional US$3-billion in restricted stock will be granted to WhatsApp’s founders and employees that will vest over four years. All 32 members of WhatsApp will become Facebook employees. Mark Zuckerberg

  • 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. Read more on Ventureburn.

  • 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. Read more on Ventureburn.

  • 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. Read more on Ventureburn.

  • 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. Read more on Ventureburn.

  • 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 twenty 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, grounodwork 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. Read more on Ventureburn.

  • Reflecting on International CES 2014 [Pictures]

    As International CES 2014 winds down, we took some time to reflect on what we saw. We learned that wearables and the “connected home” are still just buzzwords and that we’re still waiting on the promise of the concepts to be realised — both are coming however. We saw how big companies like Samsung and LG, as well as smaller ones, are working on home automation frameworks and with Intel and Sony’s miniature computer announcements, now more than ever, we’re ready for wearable sensors — we just need think further than their fitness, digital health and smartphone-pairing use cases....

  • Genius or pure insanity? The Brick is CES 2014′s most memorable phone

    Among the sea of handsets on display at CES this year, none stood out quite like The Brick. Swimming defiantly against the tide of bleeding edge smartphones, The Brick by Binatone, is a love letter to 80s “culture connoisseurs.” Yes, it’s a real product and it’s apparently selling “pretty well.” While the phone has inevitably received attention from the hipster crowd, it has attracted praise from people who long for simplicity amid the pace of today’s feature one-upping. Not surprisingly, with its simple interface and large buttons, Binatone tells us that the phone has found its way into the home...

  • Three huge innovations from CES that could transform Africa [CES2014]

    Makerbot’s largest 3D printer yet, the Z18, and the Waka Waka solar charger made their appearance at CES this year — read our review — but while their implications for an emerging market is more obvious, there were some other announcements focused squarely on the US market, that ironically, could have a major impact in an African context. We sifted through the madness that is CES and found three (or four) innovations that can make a real difference in Africa. Take a look. The first personal thermal imaging device for consumers Unveiled last night at CES, the FLIR One transforms...

  • Our vote for best digital fitness device at CES 2014: Skulpt Aim

    Squint your eyes while looking at the lineup of fitness gadgets at International CES this year, and they become almost indiscernible — that’s because they basically all do the same thing. Little wearable gadgets that clip onto your clothing or wrap around your wrist, diligently calculating your calorie consumption based on your body movements or heart rate. These devices are great for managing body weight, but what if you’re interested in monitoring your body’s muscle composition? Read more on Gearburn.

  • Sony announces cloud-based TV service and PlayStation Now

    Sony announced today that it will be testing a cloud-based TV service in the US later this year. The service will combine TV shows and live programming, as well as video on demand into a single source of entertainment. The service will allow for seamless device switching — from a PS4 to an iPad, for example. Combining cable television and on-demand services has been an illusive holy grail up to this point, one which Microsoft is attempting to crack with the Xbox One. With 70 million internet enabled Sony devices — 4.2 million of which are PS4 units as...

  • Sony drives home its 4K commitment [CES 2014]

    Sony has just finished its press conference at this year’s CES and largely continued the overarching story, which, so far, has been all about 4K. The company harped on its “scene to screen” coverage of all things UHD, ranging from production to screening. Sony laid out its plans for this year and highlighted its TV, smartphone and camera, lineup, oh and it had something to say about wearables as well. Read more on Gearburn.

  • Michael Bay freaks out at Samsung’s CES 2014 press conference

    Proceedings took a strange turn at Samsung’s press conference today, when director Michael Bay abruptly left the stage after a teleprompter apparently failed during Samsung’s 2014 UHD TV product line presentation. Instead of ad-libbing, Bay offered a brusque apology and exited stage left, leaving Samsung Electronics America Senior Vice President, Joe Stinziano, to smooth things over. Following the incident, Business Insider caught up with Bay, who admitted that he “accidentally skipped ahead a line while reading the teleprompter, but the lines kept scrolling and he lost his place.” As a veteran director it would have been interesting to hear his thoughts...