Startup Watch: 5 years of Tim Cook’s Apple, and Gandalf won’t do your wedding

The world of entrepreneurship news is a complex one, but not when you have to explain the difference between AR and VR, that’s easy. Yes it is. Here’s our wrap of what we’re reading on PR, Apple’s Tim Cook, how to cool milk, and Gandalf, obviously.

Success, failure, then success. A Romanian MIT student came up with a great way to boil water without electricity (well fire, obviously) but really, he had a super solution and even won the MIT $100K competition. However, when he went to roll it out to rural Indians they were like ‘nope, thanks, got that covered, what we want is cold milk’. So he went back to the drawing board and came up with a solution.

Like country like startup. Bloomberg columnist Tyler Cowen reckons that there are many similarities between new countries and startups. He says that the UAE is a perfect example. They became independent from the UK in 1971 and have grown to become one of the most stable and prosperous Arab countries - well done. They now also house pretty much all the startups too.  

5 ways to run your PR like an election campaign. It’s not enough to launch your product and hope for the best, says Brooklyn-based tech investor Charlie O'Donnell. Election campaigns, he says, in this blog post, are like storytelling machines. And he’s right, the candidate is the product and it’s all sell, sell, sell. He has five tips - our favorites are to have a schedule and an “influencer”. But be careful with that one, there’s nothing quite like a Lindsay Lohan to help your venture.

Big glasses mean big money. (Image via

Take note VR and AR startups. A recent report from Deloitte said that VR and AR was going to grown into a billion dollar niche for the Middle East. So, it’s nice to see encouraging signs from the US, from this latest CB Insights analysis, in the way investors are clamoring around such startups. So take note now, out of the 15 companies listed the top four made between $50 and $85 million on single rounds - this could be you.

From us to you: Pakistan brings solar to the yard. Maybe a thing or two that MENA-based entrepreneurs with a fancy for all things solar could take on board. If all you want is a fan to get you through the night you can rent a solar panel. It’s a country with a population bigger than all of MENA and there are currently seven companies in the market - some looking to expand to this region. So, MENA, get your solar-powered skates on.

Tim Cook celebrates 5 years as Apple CEO. Despite him being hand-picked by a dying Steve Jobs to lead Apple there are those who are still critical of him, and as this article points out, Apple has yet to produce a hit product in the five years he’s been in command. The company has, however, become the world’s largest public company. On a side note he rises at 3.45am every day. That’s just wrong.

NOT Sean Parker's LOTR-themed wedding. (Image via Caters News/Elina Kansikas)

Gandalf doesn’t do weddings. Do you have a price? Clearly Sir Ian McKellen doesn’t. He was reportedly offered $1.5 million to officiate Napster founder Sean Parker’s Lord of the Rings themed wedding (ahem?) but with all the class of a British stage actor he said ah, no thank you. He told the UK’s Mail on Sunday that he would have perhaps considered it but he had to dress as Gandalf. And there he drew the line.

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