Westly to Focus More on Green Buildings for Future Fund

Greentech investor Steve Westly has been out there raising a new $175 million cleantech fund, and recently closed on the first $50 million. Particularly interesting is that Westly plans to have a special focus on green building technology for the new fund.

Panasonic EVP Bob Perry: Consumers Desire Choice

Panasonic (s PC) EVP Bob Perry made it clear at this week’s TV of Tomorrow Show that there’s not much love lost in America for cable TV. He joked that even Wall Street bankers might be more popular than cable execs, and warned that cable companies won’t survive if they continue to force consumers into a business model that nobody wants. “There is over a hundred million households yearning to be free,” he says.
Perry also had another warning for the cable industry: Government has stepped in before to enforce competition and decouple infrastructure from services. The phone business went through this transition, and power companies have been facing similar regulations, he said. Could cable be next? Will Congress eventually force cable companies to open up their pipes for competitors to sell programming? “It certainly happened to many other businesses,” he mused.
Of course, cable isn’t the only gatekeeper in this newteevee world. Device makers increasingly hold the key to over the top platforms, deciding which services to include and which to leave out. So how will Panasonic deal with this responsibility? I decided to find out and ask Perry a few more questions.
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3 Next-Gen Applications for Smart Grid 2.0

Now that large, established players — Silver Spring Networks and Cisco (CSCO) — are building out the smart grid network, the next area for innovation will be the applications, software and services designed to run on top of the network. That’s a trend we’ve covered, and it has been heavily discussed at this week’s GreenBeat conference. As Khosla Ventures partner Vinod Khosla put it today, he’s searching for the Twitters and Facebooks of the smart grid.
Khosla, who has seemed a lot more bearish than many investors in terms of the smart grid (in contrast, Steve Westly, partner at the Westly Group welcomed GreenBeat attendees to bring him their business plans), predicted not many of the next-gen smart grid entrepreneurs in the room would be successful, but that there would be enough winners to make the sector “interesting.” Next-gen applications and services could sprout up in the middle of the grid or at the edge of the network. It’s at the edge where Duke Energy CTO David Mohler said earlier this week he aims to “let thousand flowers bloom.” Here’s 3 companies that have developed next-gen smart grid services that were at the GreenBeat show:
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Most Valuable Asset in Cleantech: A Chinese-Speaking CFO

chinese-flag-flickrclairegribbinWant to hit it big in cleantech? Sign your Chief Financial Officer up for Mandarin lessons. “The hottest commodity today is a Chinese-speaking CFO with an MBA from an American school –- that person is worth a mint,” venture capitalist Steve Westly said this week at a conference sponsored by Silicon Valley law firm Cooley Godward, reports peHUB.

China offers a range of juicy opportunities for cleantech startups, driven in large part by what McKinsey & Company has described as “an extensive body of regulations and policies to raise the energy efficiency of many sectors,” helping to reduce the environmental consequences of rapid economic development and urbanization. Execs that can communicate with government officials and local partners in the country will have a distinct advantage in the race to meet demand for technologies that boost efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution, and help manage waste.
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BlackBerry Desktop Software for Mac Available Today

It’s been a long, long time coming, but according to RIM (s rimm), the BlackBerry Desktop Software for Mac will be available today. Mac owners have always relied on third-party solutions for syncing their BlackBerries up to the Mac, but no longer.

BB desktop mac

BlackBerry Desktop Software, formerly known as BlackBerry Desktop Manager, provides complete control over phone handsets from the Mac. Which means Mac users will now be able to sync PIM information and iTunes playlists with genuine RIM software. Phone updates and app installations can be handled from the Mac when OTA options are not available. The program should be available in the afternoon via the link above.

Westly Group Drums Up Over $100M for New Cleantech Fund

Westly_SteveExceeding expectations is the name of the cleantech game for investor Steve Westly these days. Last night, he said at the Reuters Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit that his firm, the Westly Group, set out to raise $100 million for a new cleantech fund that will be formally announced next week — but he expects to beat that goal, Reuters reports. Predicting that at least a dozen cleantech companies will go public in 2010, he added, “It wouldn’t surprise me if we exceeded that.” Bullish, much? That could be a good sign for cleantech startups seeking venture capital.
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Docstoc: Online Document Hosting and Preview Services

docstocWorking online, you probably need to share documents  with clients, partners and coworkers. You also probably wouldn’t mind having a resource at hand whereby you could search, preview, and download a wide selection of documents to use as templates, research material, or benchmarks to help further your own work. Docstoc is a new service that aims to meet both of these needs with a web app. Read More about Docstoc: Online Document Hosting and Preview Services

Cleantech Group Aims to Raise $1M for Obama

While the Republicans threw punches at Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama at their convention in Saint Paul this evening, the cleantech community of the Bay Area gathered to praise Obama as the best hope to help solve our energy crisis with clean power. The Cleantech For Obama group (CT4O) kicked off what founding co-chair Jeff Anderson said will be a nationwide campaign to both get Barack Obama elected and “create a political brand and voice for the clean tech and green business community.” To achieve the former CT4O plans to raise at least $1 million from the cleantech community for Obama.

To help bring in this sizable sum before the election, CT4O promises big fund raising events. Anderson said venture capitalist and Nobel laureate Al Gore plans to come to the Bay Area for a CT4O gig in September or October, which alone could pull in $500,000 to $1 million. Former California State Comptroller and Managing Partner of the Westly Group Steve Westly was even more optimistic, saying he hopes Michelle Obama, Joe Biden and perhaps even Obama himself will attend CT4O events.


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Time Picks You, and You, and You

Just spent a peaceful evening reading through Time’s Person of the Year issue. Their choice: you. That’s “you” as in user-generated content, web 2.0, YouTube.

My initial impression was skepticism — c’mon, it’s a gimmick — but I’m impressed with the cast of characters Time put together to show its story. Sure, there’s another photoshoot with Chad and Steve, but there’s also some well-written commentary. However, by far the most interesting part is profiles of 15 “you”s.

Problem is, the profiles are quite hard to page through online, and there are no links! My comments are in italics. The rest comes straight from the articles.

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