Cleantech needs sustainable business cases, not hype

1 12 2009

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Enjoy an Oprah moment with Vinod Khosla, perennial venture developer and powerhouse venture capitalist. While he wants the environmentally sustainable outcomes alternative energy and transportation systems are offering, he is very disappointed with the current status of business cases and the direction cleantech hype is currently pointing. Read the rest of this entry »


IPO momentum building on OpenTable

22 05 2009

Despite a broader market skid yesterday, OpenTable entered the public markets with a very respectable IPO that’s giving hope to the dozens of venture-backed companies hankering for an exit.  Good coverage by the San Francisco Chronicle points out that this is no flood-gate event, but it certainly wasn’t a failure.  Watch to see if OpenTable holds onto its 60% gains from yesterday; it closed at $31.89 and trades on the Nasdaq under symbol OPEN. The company will likely face difficulties growing revenue since it appeals largely to mid- and up-scale restaurants and diners – a market that is prone to heavy recession pullbacks.  (UPDATE 5/26: On a day when the tech markets were bullish, OPEN has stabilized and shed its value down to $26.80 or so.  While this is still a 30%+ return for IPO investors at $20, it’s a substantial decline off the opening day hype.)

Image from VentureBeat

The impetus for innovation at OpenTable has never been larger now; their revenue potential in servicing restaurant reservations is not the making of a billion dollar company.  As the company develops trusted relationships with restaurants however, look for OpenTable to extend online and mobile marketing services for its clients.  If management sees its core capabilities in the online reservation space, look for it to expand to golf courses, boutique hotels and villas, and private events to consolidate market share in those niches as well.

If other pre-IPO companies (and their VC investors) like what they see, there could be a sizable increase in IPO registrations as companies compete with new secondary offerings for investment dollars still sitting on the sidelines.

OpenTable IPO lifts hopes on stock exchange – San Francisco Chronicle

OpenTable IPO rises 59%; Critics sneer – Wall Street Journal

New Energy Markets Set for Long Term Boom

4 09 2008

Two new articles piqued my interest today for their bullishness on cleantech, renewable energy, and alternative fuels.  In the first, Michael Butler of Cascadia Capital lends a macroscopic overview of the economic opportunity for new energy technology from an excerpt of an upcoming book Financing the Future and the Next Wave of 21st Century Innovation. Butler brings organization and a seasoned investor’s perspective to the cleantech sector – breaking down the separate needs and opportunities of the solar, wind, bio-energy, energy storage, clean water, energy efficiency, green building, and smart grid sub-sectors.

Private Equity HUB – Energy Markets Confront the Post-Petroleum Era

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An Appeal for Universal Preventive Care

21 08 2008

It’s campaign time and no matter who you’re voting for, you’re bound to see some change in Washington following this November’s election. I’ve never delved too deeply into public policy, but I’d like to suggest a public policy for universal health care. Not the uber-expensive, tax-you-50%-of-your-income version that guarantees full health care at any health facility (as in Germany, where they spare no expense to make sure you get the absolute best treatment but tax income heavily).

Rather, I suggest a universal PREVENTIVE CARE plan that guarantees every citizen will be afforded a personal regimen of preventive care treatment. Preventive care has a whole host of benefits, not least of which is reducing the ultimate cost of health care by eliminating high-cost failures before they happen. Preventive care is essential to providing individuals with the regular health guidance they need to make more accountable health choices and achieve early identification of potentially dangerous conditions. A national preventive care program could also push individuals to augment the national preventive care program with private emergency care insurance that could more accurately reflect the costs of riskier health choices – further encouraging individuals to recognize the high cost of smoking, overeating, and other dangerous health habits. Read the rest of this entry »

Stunning 3D navigation of photo and video | PicLens

5 06 2008

I’ve just begun exploring the immersive experience PicLens is creating for photos and videos on the web. This nifty plugin for various web browsers will add an unobtrusive, gray play button to images or previews of videos on sites like YouTube, Flickr, SmugMug, Google Images, Facebook, and more.

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The developer, a Menlo Park, Ca., firm named Cooliris, was founded in January 2006 with support from Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers. Cooliris is part of a momentous upcoming trend that will redefine searching and browsing by eliminating heavy textual references and instead providing previews and rich media directly – allowing for a more consumer-oriented, user-friendly experience that engages rather than befuddles. Read the rest of this entry »

Follow-up on VisualCV

2 03 2008

BusinessWeek | A Facebook For The Seven-Figure Set

Breaking news about Heidrick & Struggles, one of the premier executive recruiting firms in the world, is planning to launch a private network featuring VisualCV technology to gather and promote CEO, CFO, and COO talent to the top positions in the world. A VisualCV is a web-enabled document that can host photos, videos, articles, references, and other important collateral that executive-level talent are likely to have amassed during their successful careers.


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BusinessWeek | Rapid prototyping on the web: Kluster at TED

27 02 2008

Gore, Geldof, Venter…And This Guy on

Look out for Ben Kauffman – the man driving a new force in rapid prototyping and crowd-sourced innovation. He’s hoping to turn this year’s TED crowd into an innovation machine as they bid their Watts on product ideas using his Kluster web service.

What I want to know is will Kluster lend itself to rapid protoyping of brands, of delivery channels, of business models? Product development is by all means a necessary activity for companies to remain competitive, but it’s not the deepest source of value creation. Revolutionary business models, new services and experiences, and innovative branding ideas hold the keys to unlocking competitive advantage in value creation.