Thoughts on the San Francisco Cleantech Forum
WegoWise recently presented at the 10th Annual Cleantech Forum in San Francisco. We were honored to have been one of only twenty companies selected to present our technology and business model in front some of the most prominent investors and multinationals in the cleantech industry.
Represented in the Entrepreneur Showcase were businesses working across the clean technology spectrum from alternative energy and energy storage to waste remediation and efficiency. We were excited to have been in such good company.
I attended the first Cleantech Forum 10 years ago when even the term “cleantech” was just newly coined. At that time, the industry was just beginning to try and figure out what green investing was all about. Investing in fields like renewable energy and waste remediation was not new though. The oil shock of the 1970’s and the increasing concern over environmental degradation that led up to the creation of the EPA had spawned an earlier generation of entrepreneurs. But this time around, the feeling was different. More accurate assessments of resource depletion, better understanding of environmental health effects, and more sophisticated models of climate change all led to a greater sense of urgency.
As a materials engineer, I was particularly excited to see advanced materials pushing the performance envelope in fields like energy generation and storage. A global conversation to address environmental externalities through innovations like carbon taxes and carbon trading seemed poised to offer sustained market support for the industry. Of course, as history has shown, the birth of new industries can be a long and painful one. Cleantech is no exception and over the past 10 years, we have seen ebbs and flows in financing activity, market growth, and public policy progress.
At WegoWise, one sector that attracted our attention was information technology. In particular, we saw an opportunity to dramatically transform how we can drive towards greater environmental sustainability through better information. The revolution in IT and the growth of the Internet have dramatically changed the way we access information and mediated our interaction with the physical world. No longer do we need to comparison shop by driving from store to store. Go to a record store to buy music? What’s a record?! But even as more and better information permeates our lives, most of us remain blissfully ignorant of the buildings we live in. These are places where we spend most of our time and are probably the biggest assets and expenses we have. We gladly search the web for the best deals on TVs and drive across town for the lowest price gasoline. Yet, we mostly accept our housing’s performance as a given.
We at WegoWise asked ourselves, why not leverage the power of the information age into the world of utilities and building efficiency? So we did. And in two short years, we already track and benchmark the largest number of multi-family properties in the US and have an enthusiastic customer base. We are not alone in our premise that better data and freer information flow will lead to greater sustainability. At the Cleantech Forum, this idea was most elegantly expressed by Sunil Paul’s thesis for the “CleanWeb” and his belief in the power of information to leverage our resources more effectively.
The enthusiastic responses to our presentation at Cleantech Forum further confirm that we are onto something. WegoWise has a scalable technology and a capital-efficient business model that can greatly expand the building efficiency market and dramatically streamline the process through which we improve building performance. In future posts, we will discuss in more detail the founding of our company, the key ideas behind our platform architecture, and how we plan to keep WegoWise as a leader of the CleanWeb.