Vinod Khosla: Cleantech Wisdom

Vinod Khosla: Cleantech Wisdom

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

Vinod Khosla recently announced a new member of his Khosla Ventures team: none other than former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who has been a vocal proponent of action to combat climate change. According to reports, Blair will be a paid advisor and will add his eloquence and global connections to Khosla’s plans to change the world through cleantech investments.

This from Dana Hull at the Mercury News:

“I’m absolutely thrilled, honored and delighted to team up with Vinod and the people he has working for him,” Blair said before taking the stage for a “fireside chat” with executives from six companies in Khosla Ventures’ vast portfolio. “Vinod is one of the most creative, dynamic and extraordinary people I’ve ever met in my life… the answers to climate change and energy security lies in the technological innovations. I am thrilled to play whatever small part I can.”

Chances are, Blair will play much more than a “small part” in keeping global warming and the need for cleantech innovation front and center. His eloquence and British accent will no doubt help. But he’ll be keeping his distance from his fellow Brits at BP who have created an environmental disaster.

Here is an interview from the Fresh Dialogues archives which explores Vinod’s motivations for investing in Bloom Energy, future predictions and his concern about cleantech bubbles.

Click here for the FULL TRANSCRIPT
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Download or listen to this lively Fresh Dialogues interview

 

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The interview was recorded at the SDForum Visionary Awards in June 2009.

To see many other exclusive videos at the FRESH DIALOGUES CHANNEL  click here

SEE THE VIDEO INTERVIEW HERE – A FRESH DIALOGUES EXCLUSIVE –

1. Bloom Energy: Fuel Cell Technology

2. Bloom Energy: Affordability is Essential Video

3. Bloom Energy: Mission to Change the World Video

For a full archive of interviews with Tom Friedman, Paul Krugman, Martin Sheen and many others click here

Scott Hublou, EcoFactor: CleanTech Award Winner 2009

Scott Hublou, EcoFactor: CleanTech Award Winner 2009

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh DialoguesScott Hublou, EcoFactor - Fresh Dialogues interview

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On November 17, I attended the CleanTech Open Awards Gala at the Masonic Center in San Francisco and enjoyed keynotes from Lesa Mitchell from the Kaufman Foundation, Bill Weihl, Google’s Energy Czar and Nancy Pfund, of DBL Investors.

Minutes after his company was picked as the National Award Winner. I sat down with Scott Hublou, co-founder of EcoFactor. His three-year-old start-up has created an energy management system for the home that uses weather data to optimize heating and cooling. Scott claims savings of between 20 to 30% are achievable. Sounds pretty attractive in this tough economy, and the judges thought so too.

How did the CleanTech Open and its mentoring help you?

“It forces deep thinking around various different business models. Because there are actual deadlines, it’s kinda like being back in school again where you have to have deliverables… You’re presenting to your peers and potential investors, so you always want to make a good impression… think about sustainability, and good market strategies.”

 

The Pitch, in layman’s terms
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Linda Holroyd: Green investment no longer frilly

Linda Holroyd: Green investment no longer frilly

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh DialoguesFresh Dialogues with Linda Holroyd

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Earlier this year, I met with Linda Holroyd, CEO of FountainBlue, a Silicon Valley based forum that brings together top experts and entrepreneurs in green tech. We discussed why her company is thriving because of the down economy; and why she has faith in the resiliency of green tech. Given that oil and gas prices have tumbled, is there still a pressing case for clean energy and green tech investment?

We discuss:

The mood of FountainBlue’s clean energy group

Her expectations for President Barack Obama’s  stimulus package and her advice to our president.

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Mayor Chuck Reed: How clean tech grows in Silicon Valley

Mayor Chuck Reed: How clean tech grows in Silicon Valley

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh DialoguesMayor Chuck Reed on Fresh Dialogues

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In this interview, Mayor Chuck Reed, the Green Mayor, describes how the City of San Jose is helping clean tech startups and established companies grow and thrive in Silicon Valley.  (more…)

Green Tech Careers Evening – SDForum

Green Tech Careers Evening – SDForum

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

Last Wednesday, SDForum, the energetic and prolific nonprofit for techies, hosted an excellent program for those considering a move to the Green and Clean business world.

Jennifer McFarlane of Clean Source Power (a solar energy company) did an excellent job as moderator to the panel of clean tech experts, including the indomitable Kevin Surace of Serious Materials, Steve Reale of Levensohn Venture Partners, Prakash Ramachandran, of Nordic Windpower Ltd., and Kevin Barry of Schweichler Price & Partners, an executive search consultant with expertise in the cleantech sector.

Despite the economic gloom, Jennifer McFarlane challenged the panel to “tell us something cheerful.” And they produced. Kevin Surace was most vocal and bullish, anticipating his company will double in manpower and revenues in 2009. So if you’re inclined to join the eco building world of Serious Materials, get your resume in ASAP. Prakash called for “bright stars ahead,” thanks to the incoming Obama administration and said, “the floodgates are going to open in the 3rd Quarter of 2009.” He outdid Kevin, by predicting a tripling of Nordic Power’s manpower and business by year end 2009.

There was general consensus that the TARP may not have helped the financial market to date, but it’s been a solid shot in the arm for the solar industry: extending the federal tax credit for another 8 years. Jennifer beamed broadly at that discussion, but Kevin pointed out that green products/ energy must be priced right/ cost the same as the competition or be a “solution sell” and put dollars in consumers pockets over their lifetime.

On the gloomier side, Kevin Barry said, “It’s still the Wild West from a hiring perspective…there’s been lazy hiring and there may be a bubble.” Steve Reale also used the word “correction” for the green business world and said the promise of a $100’s of billion market has lured many (possibly too many) VCs. Ominous stuff.

Advice for those thinking of a new green tech career:

do your homework/ take courses

get solar on your house

find out how it works

know the lingo

show your passion

be tenacious

Many thanks to SDForum CEO Susan Lucas Conwell for the invitation and to photographer extraordinaire DJ Cline for the use of his photos. Check out his website for more photos of this event.