Another interesting little piece popped up on earth2tech this morning that I just can’t resist sharing. As a PR firm, we love working with startups. Really, we do: the struggle to grow is an adrenaline rush, and the challenge of defining their identity even as they work to determine how they fit is oftentimes frustrating, but extremely rewarding. These days, green startups are exploding, however, and even VCs are having trouble gauging which ones are the real deal.
With stimulus funds now flowing into the smart grid, investors are rushing to get in the game. And the opportunities are indeed aplenty. According to Katie Fehrenbacher, picking the market leader should be easy: the firms that have managed to complete deals with larger utility companies are clearly a step ahead of the game, right? The problem is that most utility giants are currently “sampling” the smart grid landscape, and doing a host of smaller pilot deals with several startups. And this means that almost all of the contenders have some small deal with a larger utility company. So how to suss out the winners from the also-rans?
This is a really interesting discussion that will undoubtedly get hotter as the push toward energy efficiency grows. Listen and learn…
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A bit of an aside today, but I wanted to share an interesting piece that appeared in Greentech Media’s CleanTech Investing column last week on the branding of greentech/cleantech/“insert some-new-tech here” investing. According to the author (a principal at Boston-based @Ventures), as greentech has grown in popularity and worked its way into the larger geopolitical discussion, it has become synonymous, in many cases, with the earth-friendly, “let’s all help save the planet” sentiment that makes VCs cringe. VCs, of course, want to make sure their focus on the bottom line is always paramount – no matter the sector – and that an eco-happy perception doesn’t somehow undermine their image in the investment market.
This is interesting because, as marketers ourselves, we make a living by using words and ideas to position companies in the minds of their prospective customers. That the misleading (and to VCs, harmful) connotation now attached to cleantech and greentech may force the creation of a new category is something to keep an eye on. This may be one of the first industries, for now at least, where green buzz is not necessarily a good thing. The first of more? Only time will tell. But for now, ”resource tech” and “natural resource optimization” don’t exactly roll off the tongue, do they?
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