Cleantech VC is receding because of poor short-term performance – no surprise in a post-bubble field with outsized time and money requirements. The category is about to go on a walk in the woods, where innovators will blaze a new trail.
Indoor mapping and location services will create a new world of advertising and social networking services, but no technologies have proven the winners yet. A Massachusetts startup has come up with an idea of combining digital lighting with smart phones to make that world a reality.
Alan Salzman, co-founder of VantagePoint Capital Partners, has two words of advice for investors trying to make money on their cleantech investments in a difficult year: be patient and embrace the enemy.
VantagePoint Capital Partners and musicians unite in support of safe, clean energy. Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Jason Mraz, Tom Morello, and others will perform a benefit concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA on Sunday, August 7, 2011 at 3:00 pm.
When running a business, it can sometimes be hard to draw the line between being of service and being taken advantage of by customers, clients and other professionals. Here are a few ways to reinforce that line.
Twitter has finally implemented Lists, a much-needed feature. Assuming you have Lists enabled (and Twitter is still rolling it out, so some folks won’t have access to it yet) there is now a Lists button on every person’s page; its really easy to use. You might think of “Lists” as a way to sort the people you follow into common groups, making it easier to find them in the noisy Twitter stream.
I usually have at least three browsers open at any time. One will be a Mozilla Gecko app (Firefox, Camino, or SeaMonkey) and one an Apple WebKit based program (Stainless, Cruz, iCab, Shiira, OmniWeb, or especially since Safari 4 was released, Safari itself). Interestingly, I find I like Safari 4 better on my old Pismo PowerBooks running OS 10.4.11 than I do under Leopard on my Core 2 Duo MacBook where Stainless tends to get the nod.
However, the browser I consistently use more than all of the others combined is Opera, and it’s an abiding puzzlement to me as to why Opera has thus far been unable to carve out a more substantial market niche in North America.
According to NetApplications’ HitsLink Market Share statistics watch for August, Opera now has a cumulative global two percent share (2.35 percent when Opera Mini is included) behind Microsoft’s (s msft) Internet Explorer, Firefox, Apple’s (s aapl) Safari, and Google’s (s goog) Chrome, thanks largely to its popularity in Eastern Europe and Asia, where it has about four percent of the market. Opera claims that in some regions of the globe, such as Russia, Ukraine and parts of Europe, it is now the most popular browser with growth last year of 67 percent and roughly 100 million users worldwide (translation into 39 languages probably doesn’t hurt either). But its penetration in the U.S. and Canada is more like one percent. Indeed, Google’s Chrome, still a beta with no general release Mac version, has now bumped Opera from forth to fifth place in the U.S. browser market. Read More about Why Doesn’t Opera Have More Market Share in North America?
There are more than a dozen companies building and launching energy management tools this year, but not all are as well-funded as Boulder, Colo.-based startup Tendril. This morning the company said it has raised a third round of funding, of $30 million. The 5-year-old company sells a suite of energy management hardware and software designed to help utilities and consumers communicate, including a wireless in-home energy display, a smart thermostat, a web-based energy portal, smart outlets and cell phone apps.
Unlike some of the other companies working on smart energy tools, Tendril is already selling to utilities. And with this latest round of venture capital funding — led by VantagePoint Venture Partners and joined by Good Energies — Tendril hopes to scale up its current services to meet the sudden interest in its products. It also plans to invest in new partnerships with device makers, appliance manufacturers, meter vendors and app developers.
Read More about Tendril Rakes In Another $30M for Energy Management
Late last month, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce pulled together a small, motley crew of companies with a stake in upcoming climate policy to launch its Innovation, Development & Employment Alliance — a group trying to ensure that an international climate deal doesn’t weaken rules about who can profit from cleantech innovations. As we’ve noted before, the V-P of the Chamber of Commerce’s intellectual property center called the UN climate negotiations taking place in Copenhagen this December “the IP battle of the year.”
But for those waging battles to defend IP, the consequences of negotiators taking a “very collaborative” approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sharing “all intellectual property as much as possible,” as U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has urged, may not be such big a threat.
“In a world that’s innovating quickly, the life cycle of IP is short,” Alan Salzman, CEO and managing partner of VantagePoint Venture Partners told us in an interview recently, shortly after he returned from a summit in Copenhagen designed to get the business community on the same page about climate policies. Asked if he was worried about the next climate deal, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol, compromising IP protections, he said, “It’s not to my mind one of the larger issues.”
Read More about The Next Climate Deal: How Big is the Battle for Cleantech IP?
Last week’s World Business Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen drew more than 500 executives from cleantech firms, utilities and some of the world’s largest corporations, as well as top envoys for the upcoming international climate talks to be held in the city this December. VantagePoint Venture Partners CEO and Managing Partner Alan Salzman joined the gathering as an “ambassador for Silicon Valley,” he told us in an interview after the event, and he came away with a generally positive outlook on how policy is shaping up.
Salzman said he saw it as his job at the summit to “bring a sense of optimism to the party” and put “mundane Silicon Valley activities front and center.” He explained that meant representing the innovation arm within the private energy sector for an audience that doesn’t necessarily think about the business community with the same degree of granularity — a big utility and small startup, he said, seemed to fall under the same big umbrella for many of his fellow summit-goers.
Salzman said he carried around an LED bulb and spoke about some of VantagePoint’s investments (the firm’s portfolio includes Tesla Motors, Adura Technologies, Better Place, BrightSource Energy and Miasole) to make the innovation sector and its potential to transform industries more tangible.
Read More about Alan Salzman: Bringing Silicon Valley Entrepreneurship to Global Climate Policy