Thursday, April 23, 2009

EcoTuesday Event April 28

EcoTuesday is sponsoring a new event April 28: The Intersection of Business and the Environment.

Featured speakers include Elliott Hoffman, Founder of The New Voice of Business, which promotes economic, social and environmental sustainability in the United States; Felicia Marcus, Western Regional Director of the National Resources Defense Council, the nation's most effective environmental action group, and John Knox, Executive Director of Earth Island Institute, which grows environmental leadership by providing a home to start-up sustainability campaigns.

Another event is also planned in Silicon Valley at a Palo Alto location.

Details

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Greenfund - Will the SEC Allow a Kiva.org for Green Biz?


During the VLAB Cleantech Value Chain event, I came away feeling that ordinary citizens should be able to step into the investment cycle and donate to these companies through a kiva.org -like mechanism. This may be especially important because, as panelists noted, IT was born locally, but cleantech is being born globally.

Silicon Valley's investment preferences may be overly mature - or not - to jumpstart cleantech. Most VC expect a $100 million or more exit ramp within 2-5 years. Kleiner Perkins did 3-4 startups in cleantech in the last quarter.

Phase I of SV cleantech funding enthusiasm was the Tesla, the electric sports car.

Meanwhile, elsewhere, we have Huey Johnson pointing out that 25% of energy in California is being used to move water from one end of the state to the other - a topic untouched by the otherwise laudable AB32 bill. We don't have a business solution mandated for this kind of problem.

Somewhere here there's a pretty big disconnect.

On the other hand, following up on the investment fund idea, I discovered Steve Newcomb had had the same idea - and acted upon it. Virgance.com has details about his new Greenfund. Greenfund's proposal is currently being reviewed by the SEC. Stay tuned.

VLAB Panel on Stimulus Plan


Last night, hundreds thronged the VLAB event on the stimulus package to hear a stimulating group of panelists describe their view of the elephant. While not five blind men, it was a different vantage point from each participant.

Enthusiasm - but tempered perhaps - is in order. Now the race is on to get local politicians to love you, love your project, love the jobs you will create. It's a brave new world out there in the newly emerging B2G space.

Emerging Business Forum: VLAB Event on Cleantech Startups Path to Power



Last Friday, I attended the MIT/Stanford VLAB event on the Cleantech Startup Value Chain. A great event...and perhaps history in the making, as the Valley shifts gears...from tech tech to clean tech.

The first focused on a tale of five companies, each with extremely promising cleantech startups. It was somewhat disheartening to see how slowly the wheels of commerce turn to get these companies up and running and then to scale. We don't make it easy for people.

The second panel focused on partnering with larger entities, moving from startup to partner. PGE and Siemens were represented.

Here's the official panel description:

Keynote Speaker: Winston Hickox, Chair of the California Market Advisory Committee

Panel One: Market and Offering, Current Position and Background, Challenges
Moderator - Dan Lankford - WavePoint Ventures
Chuck Horrell - VP of Engineering - Advanced Transit Dynamics
Dennis Murphy, VP Business Development - GroundSource Geo - CTO Winner 2008
Mohit Singh, Founder - Seeo Inc.
PR Yu, CEO - Solar for Life 3
Fraser Murison Smith, CEO - ElectraDrive - CTO Winner 2008

Panel Two: Clean Tech Value Collaborations: Investments & Trends, Collaborations & Advice for Start Ups
Moderator - Douglas Park, DYP Advisors, Inc.
Elias Blawie, Partner - Cooley Godward
Lee Cooper - PG&E Emerging Technologies
Stefan Heuser, CEO - Siemens Technology to Business (TTB)

For complete details, see the VLAB event page.

Update, May 12: I am happy to announce that Douglas Park is now a co-author of Eco Investor blog.

Happy Earth Day

Happy Earth Day.

In 1970, on the first Earth Day, I started my first newspaper, while a student in middle school. Called Beginnings, it sold for a nickel.

Thirty nine years later, I am excited to be launching my new blog on Eco Investing. By eco-investing, I mean a focus on how people can drive change in environmental policy, business, and economics to deliver on the three P's - profit, people, planet.

I was inspired by many events and trends. First is the work I have been doing with Resource Renewal Institute. Learning from Green Plans leaders, chief among them Huey Johnson, has been an eye-opening experience. After hearing Huey speak at LongNow [video] in Sept. and then conducting interviews with his wonderful and inspiring Green Plans leaders from around the world, who wouldn't want to help the U.S. move forward in this holistic policy approach [videos].

Secondly, I've been intrigued by the current investment in clean tech. It started out as research for a book about business success stories in the sustainability realm and has morphed into more. I've attended two MIT/Stanford VLAB events in the past week, which have provided some insight into where the valley is at.

Thirdly, I have been seeing the intersection and divergence of both business and nonprofit groups in looking at sustainability issues. Is Silicon Valley and the investment community capable of ramping up and tacking the changes we need to make? What role should private investment be making? What role public?

This blog is my new spot for considering these topics. Join this ride - and please comment along the way!

PS If you want to get an in-depth look at Green Plans, read Huey's book or watch the day long Green Plans conference (which took place just before the Bioneers conference in Oct. 2008) available online for free.