Per Ostberg

  • Adventurer
  • Businessman and Entrepreneur
  • Author
  • Philanthropis
  • entrepreneur
  • entrepreneur
  • entrepreneur
  • entrepreneur
  • entrepreneur

Twelve years after starting his über successful Starfish Mobile company, Per Ostberg co-founded his second company, Vantagepoint Digital, an entrepreneurship gaming App for pads and mobile phones. His experience in adventure travelling, new opportunities, and business ideas ensures he is in constant demand as a speaker and consultant.

With an MSc degree in Computer Science & Technology from Sweden’s Linköping’s Institute of Technology plus 19 years experience building mobile networks and value-added services in Asia and Africa under his belt, Per Ostberg has worked across the globe.  A former lecturer at the Linköping Institute, Per Ostberg joined Ericsson Radio System AB in Stockholm in 1995. He spent five years restructuring logistics processes for Ericsson’s subsidiaries in Australia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Egypt, and Philippines, focusing on the ordering and material flow required for Ericsson’s GSM network rollouts.

He joined MSI-CI/Celtel International, a Dutch company building and operating mobile networks in Africa under the brand name Celtel (today Airtel Africa) as Project Director in 2000. In three years, he built Sierra Leone’s first GSM network during the civil war along with GSM networks in Chad, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Tanzania. He also expanded Celtel’s network in Uganda.

Per Ostberg co-founded Starfish Mobile in 2002, building it – with his partners – into one of sub-Saharan Africa’s leading Mobile Value Added Services companies with operations in 21 countries, and employing 50 across 10 African subsidiaries.
With leadership training from the Royal Swedish Air Force, Ericsson, MSI-CI and 12 years running his own business, Per Ostberg’s attention to detail and ability to break down complex problems into logical, easy-to-solve solutions, make him a sought-after consultant who imparts his practical knowledge in an entertaining way.

He lives in Johannesburg, with Cherry, his partner of 10 years, four cats and 23 goldfish.

E-mail him here to hire him as speaker, one-on-one coach, or to discuss consultancy and business opportunities.

You can download his CV here.

All men dream, but not equally, those that dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act upon their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.

T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom

The funny thing with “adventure” is that it changes with time and changing perspectives. Back in the day, Marco Polo, James Cook, Ferdinand Magellan, David Livingstone, Robert Scott, Roald Amundsen, Andre`, Jacques-Yves & Philippe Cousteau and Sven Hedin all went places no Westerner had gone before. Today there are few unexplored areas left on Earth.
Today adventure has become more about pushing your own boundaries than exploring for humankind, with activities like skydiving, backpacking, adventure racing, mountaineering, cross continent travels or crossing one of the oceans.
There are two types of adventurers: the famous professionals like Bear Grylls and Philippe Cousteau who make a living from it and the hobbyists who do it for fun – time and money permitting. Per Ostberg subscribes to the latter group.

As a keen hiker and sailor, it was natural for Per Ostberg to grab a backpack and head off to Thailand for a two-week holiday. Six months later he was sailing a dugout canoe up and down the Kinabatangan River in Sabah, Borneo, for Uncle Tan Wildlife Adventures. He then turned to mountaineering,  conquering  Ama Dablam in Nepal, Mount Stanley, Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua in South America as well as several South African peaks. He has worked in 80 countries, started two companies in Africa, built a mobile network in war-torn Sierra Leone, walked with giraffe in Burkina Faso, and turned a catastrophic project into a successful mobile network in Tanzania. He has participated in an “alternative Paris-Dakar race” (using a Renault Clio Sport with low profile tires), rafted the Bujagali Falls in Uganda, explored Egypt and Jordan, and backpacked through a re-opened Vietnam back in 1996.

Per Ostberg’s “why not” philosophy, positive attitude, extensive travels, and ability to combine opportunity and time, have made him a great manager, business leader, and speaker. Email him here to engage him.

Climbing Resumé:

2014, January - Mt Kenya, Kenya, travers via Sirimon & Naro Moru Routes

  • Point Lenana (4 985 meters)
  • Nelion (5 188 meters)
  • Batian (5 199 meters)

2013, January – Aconcagua (6 962 meters), Argentina
2012, October - Ama Dablam (6 818 meters), Nepal
2012, October - Island Peak/Imja Tse (6 189 meters), Nepal
2011, March - Everest Base Camp (5300 meters), Nepal
2011, March – Kala Pathar (5545 meters), Nepal
2010, June – Mt Kenya, travers via Chogoria & Sirimon Routes (4 600 m, did not summit)
2007, February – Mt Kilimanjaro via Rongai Route (Gillman’s Point, 5 681 meters)
2006, June – Sentinel (3 122 meters) via standard route, South Africa
2003, April - Mt Stanley, Ruwenzori’s, Uganda

  • Mt Speke (4 890 meters)
  • Margherita Peak (5 109 meters)
  • Alexander Peak (5 091 meters)

2003, April – Mt Kenya, via Naro Moru Route (4 300 meters, did not summit)
2002, March – Uhuru Peak (5 895 meters) via Machame Route, Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
1992, December - Mt Kinabalu (4 101 meters), Borneo, Sabah province, Malaysia

General Adventure Resumé:

2013, November - The Otter Trail along the Tstsikamma coast in South Africa
2008, May – Motorbike trip through north western South Africa to Namibia
2007, January – Skydiving (static line)
2005, December to January 2006 - Plymouth to Banjul, alternative Paris-Dakar race using 100 £ cars  
1996, April - Backpacking through Vietnam
1993, January to June - Driving dugout canoes along Kinabatangan River in Borneo for Uncle Tan (a nature camp in Borneo)
1992, August to 1993, June - Backpacking through South East Asia
1974 to 1985 - Hiking in Sweden
1978 to 1985 - Sailing around southern Sweden and Denmark

Future Projects:

Climb Mawenzi in Tanzania
Climb Albert in Ruwenzori’s in Uganda
Meet the Dalai Lama
Cross the Sahara on Camel
Climb Shishapangma, Cho Oyu and some more of the 8000 meter peaks in Himalayas
Climb Matterhorn in Switzerland
Explore Tibet
Explore China
Climb Alpamayo and explore Peru
Paddle down the Yukon River in Alaska

  • adventurer
  • adventurer
  • adventurer
  • adventurer
  • adventurer

I am not an Author, I am a Story Teller!

Jeffrey Archer, Johannesburg, April 2012


With 25 years working experience as an expatriate in an intercultural environment spanning three continents, Per Ostberg provides fresh perspectives on “cattle class commuting”, intercultural challenges, being evacuated from two countries, climbing corporate hierarchies, and restructuring supply chains between Ericsson in Sweden and its East Asian subsidiaries. His book, PERspective covers his humble beginnings as a software developer in Switzerland, teaching and speaking engagements at University of Linkoping,  the halcyon days of mobile network rollout in East Asia for Ericsson Radio Systems, the mad rush for mobile networks in Africa for MSI-CI/Celtel International and his own acquisition of the mobile value-added-services space in Africa with Starfish Mobile.

Read a sample chapter from ‘PERspective’ here

  • Great reading – PERsonal and PERspicacious. PERspective has elements of a coming of age-story, of Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, of a would-be global citizen's travel guide.

    Gert Jan Hofstede, PhD, co-author of Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind.

  • Well-written in an engaging, conversational tone, PERspective will add a dose of reality to your expat dreams. It’s an accomplished debut that should be required reading for the young entrepreneur.

    Caroline Hurry, travel journalist and author of Handbook for the Huntress.

  • Filled with solid practical advice, I only wish I had read this book before I started working abroad.

    Peter Berg-Munch, Danish expat engineer living in South Africa

The Starfish Mobile Story

Per Ostberg’s upcoming book about how he and a couple of friends started Starfish Mobile – one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest mobile value added services companies with operations in over 20 countries, takes an honest look at running a business in Africa, working with local partners, adapting to changing regulations and surviving in a competitive market where most mobile users struggle to survive on a dollar a day.

E-mail Per Ostberg here to discuss his expatriate experiences or lessons on running a business in Africa


  • author
  • author
  • philanthropis
  • philanthropis
  • philanthropis
  • philanthropis

Given the scale of life in the cosmos, one human life is no more than a tiny blip. Each one of us is just a visitor to this planet, a guest, who will only stay for a limited time. What greater folly could there be than to spend this short time alone, unhappy, or in conflict with our companions? Far better, surely, to use our short time here in living a meaningful life, enriched by our sense of connection with others and being of service to them

Dalai Lama, 2012

The first time Per Ostberg travelled through the Khumbu Valley in Nepal en route to Everest Base Camp in 2011, the friendliness of the people and Tibetan cultural  influence on everyday life, struck a deep chord. Along the hiking trail,  Buddhist shrines, monasteries, Mani Wheels (prayer wheels), decorated with the mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum”, prayer flags, and other protectors spin and send prayers into the Universe. Sadly, the Mani wheels that line villages, trails and creek in the Khumbu Valley, along the trail leading up to Mt Everest, have been fallen into disrepair. More about Mani Wheels from

The Mani Culture Foundation

After a 2012 climbing expedition to Imja Tse and Ama Dablam, Per Ostberg co-founded The Mani Culture Foundation”, an NGO that helps the Himalayan Nepal’s communities “repair, maintain, and preserve their cultural heritage for future generations”. He and Tulsi Gurung (a UIAGM/IFMGA certified Mountain Guide from Nepal) spent weeks talking to the monks at Tengboche Monastery and village community representatives along the trail to set up The Mani Culture Foundation in Nepal, currently raising funds for the repair of the water driven Mani Wheels along the Khumbu Valley this year (2014).

For more information about the Mani Culture Foundation and Mani Wheel Repair Project visit our Facebook page ( or e-mail Per  Ostberg (
Per Ostberg

If you want to contact Per Ostberg:

Per Ostberg


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If you want to contact Per Ostberg:

Per Ostberg


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