Clean PR

Clean Tech. PR. Sustainable Business.

Clean PR’s Week in Review: Jan. 18

Following a week of candidates campaigning in Michigan about challenges facing the U.S. economy and heightened discussion around the possibility of recession as many companies dropped their expected earnings for upcoming quarters, it was refreshing to read that the clean tech industry is continuing to prosper.

The Cleantech Group released numbers this week indicating venture investment in clean tech across North America and Europe increased 40% in 2007 – reaching $5.18 billion in 2007. Red Herring reports the high numbers are attributed to “an unexpectedly strong fourth quarter despite growing uncertainty in the global economy.”

The number of venture funding announcements in the first few weeks of 2008 suggests growth in clean tech will continue in 2008. TheDailyGreen writes the continuing rise of clean tech companies will be instrumental in battling increasing unemployment, wages dropping and housing troubles. Something especially relevant in clean tech cities like San Francisco and Austin, where we’re already seeing job creation and new opportunities.

Outside of investment news, industry leaders – Google, Dell, HP, IBM, Sony, Nokia and Ptiney Bowes  – made green headlines this week. Interestingly, six out the seven mentioned above made announcements that involve developing industry standards.

The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), which involves 11 corporations including HP and Dell and hundreds of investors, is developing a standard method to gather carbon-emissions information from suppliers. The hope is that suppliers can more easily provide carbon emissions details to customers by following one standard rather than juggling requests in various forms.

Additionally, IBM, Sony, Nokia and Pitney Bowes announced an effort called Eco-Patent Commons, which will make available rights to environmentally friendly technologies. Twenty-seven of the first 31 patents are being contributed by IBM. It’s off to a good start – we’ll watch to see how this programs grows in the coming year and if more companies join on to support the cause.

— Barbara DeConto, Text 100 Clean Tech Practice

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January 18, 2008 Posted by | clean tech, green investing, green or clean PR, green tech, renewable energy, sustainable business, venture capital | 1 Comment

Clean PR’s Week in Review: Jan. 4

Happy New Year! We’re only a few days in to 2008 and news of clean tech funding, awards and predictions for the year ahead are already in full swing. Here are a few highlights from the week:

  • Gap, Nike, Dell and Xerox were among the 21 companies classified for “exemplary disclosure that placed performance in the broader context of sustainability challenges, risks and opportunities” and named as finalists for the 7th annual awards program from Ceres and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. Winners will be announced in April.
  • Greentech Media reports that clean-energy companies globally pulled in $117.3 billion in public and private funding in 2007. According to London-based New Energy Finance, that’s 41 percent more than the $83 billion the firm tracked in 2006.
  • Deeya Energy, a battery energy storage startup, kicked off 2008’s funding news by raising $15 million in a Series B funding. Deeya is developing battery storage technology called “L-Cell,” which has been describe as “flow battery” technology.

– Barbara DeConto, Text 100 Clean Tech Group

January 4, 2008 Posted by | clean energy, clean tech, CSR, green or clean PR, green tech, renewable energy, sustainable business, Uncategorized, venture capital | Leave a comment

Clean PR’s Week in Review: Dec. 21

Even with the holidays approaching, there was no shortage in clean tech news this week. Not surprising, end of year analysis and predictions for the clean tech market in 2008 are in full swing. Here are a few highlights from the week:

  • The National Venture Capital Association released its 2008 predictions from Venture Capitalists and not surprisingly, the majority (80%) of VCs surveyed said 2008 will be a big year for clean tech investments.

  • According to a Forrester report “Green Progress in IT,” as of October 38 percent of IT professionals said that their companies were using environmental criteria in their evaluation and selection of IT equipment, compared with 25 percent in their April survey. The main motivation? According to 55 percent of respondents, was to reduce energy-related operating expenses. While that is not surprising, the number two motivator was “doing the right thing for the environment.”
  • A new study from IBM, “Plugging in the consumer: Innovating utility business models for the future,” finds that of countries survived (Australia, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States), 67 percent said they’d pay as much as 20 percent more for energy from sources with a lesser effect on the environment. Responses came from 1,894 bill-paying households over 18 years of age. However, only 14 percent expect their energy use to decrease somewhat. Check out the finding: PDF.
  • In clean tech investing news, greentechmedia reports several new deals in energy-efficient lighting including Element Labs, a provider of LED-based products for entertainment, architecture and signage applications, raising $12.75 million Series B funding.
  • After a year filled with funding announcements, it is great to start hearing more clean tech product news. San Jose based Nanosolar, a maker of thin-film solar cells, announced it has shipped its first product. Along with Beck Energy of Germany, Nanosolar won a contract to create a solar farm on the site of a former landfill owned by a wastewater treatment plant in Luckenwalde, Germany. The facility will generate 1 megawatt of electricity, enough to power 750 California homes.
  • If you have friends, family, colleagues looking to learn more about clean tech heading into the new year, there is a good (and brief) clean tech overview posted on ZDNet from venture firm Foundation Capital.

No “Week in Review” next week as I’ll be off for the holidays, but I’m sure we’ll have plenty more news to highlight in the new year. Have a happy (and green) holidays!– Barbara DeConto, Text 100 Clean Tech Group

December 21, 2007 Posted by | clean energy, clean tech, CSR, green investing, green marketing, green or clean PR, public relations, sustainable business, Uncategorized, venture capital | Leave a comment

Clean PR’s Week in Review: Dec. 7

Another busy week in clean tech! Here are a few news highlights:

  • As reported on greentechmedia, a number of companies reported new rounds of funding. Davis, Calif.-based Agraquest announced that it has raised $20M of new capital for its biopesticides and Vermont-based GroSolar plans to develop technology to make panels easier and cheaper to install, raised $10M.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency honored member companies of its Climate Leaders program such as Frito-Lay, AMD and Xerox for taking strides to reduce water use and greenhouse gas emissions through the EPA’s voluntary programs. Water Efficiency Leader awards were given to Intel, Lackland Air Force Base and others for their efforts.

  • Xerox announced this week it reduced emissions by 18 percent from 2002 to 2006. The company’s new goal is to lower its total global GHG emissions by 25 percent from 2002 to 2012. According to Ted Samson of InfoWorld, reducing fuel usage or cars and trucks driven by sales and service employees helped it shrink GHG production.

  • New corporate green guides are out this week from WebEx (now a part of Cisco) and Office Depot. Office Depot’s “Green Book” and WebEx’s “Green Guide” both offer companies advice for incorporating green products and practices into offices.

  • According to a new survey from Forrester Research titled “In Search Of Green Technology Consumers: Why Tech Marketers Should Target This Emerging Segment,” if you’re an Apple customer, you’re likely green-minded. The study, which surveyed computer users to determine what drove them to be environmentally conscientious, finds Apple users are more eco-friendly than users of other vendors’ PCs and are willing to spend more for “green” products.

  • A new study from Dow Jones and Ernst & Young reports that third-quarter North Americans cleantech investments totaled $1.3 billion. More than $30 billion in the U.S., Europe, China and Israel during the first three quarters of the year. Cleantech deals are anticipated to drive VC investments to more than $40 billion by year end.

Until next week….

– Barbara DeConto, Text 100 Clean Tech Group

December 7, 2007 Posted by | clean tech, CSR, green marketing, green or clean PR, public relations, sustainable business, Uncategorized, venture capital | Leave a comment

Green Q&A: Greentech Media’s Jennifer Kho

Greentech Media Logo

I think there’s some dust collecting on this blog. I set it aside to tour the country with my seven-month old son for six weeks. My first post since returning is with Jennifer Kho of the recently launched Greentech Media. I first met Jennifer last year when Text 100 was introducing its clean tech group. At the time, she was at still at Red Herring and was one of the few people reporting daily on green business topics. She was nice enough to sit down with us then to share her thoughts on the emerging clean tech industry. A year later, she has a great thing going at Greentech Media, which dubs itself as an “integrated online-media company comprised of cutting-edge news, in-depth market research, and focused industry events.”

Swain: I subscribe to a lot of green newsletters and RSS feeds and more seem to be popping up every day. Is there enough news to support all of the people writing about it?

Kho: Yes, I still think there is plenty of news left to cover (and uncover) in this area. The players are so diverse, involving energy, transportation, energy efficiency, energy management, water and air and so on, that I think a number of reporters are needed to cover the industry thoroughly.

Before you left Red Herring, was the number of pitches in your inbox still increasing or did it start to level off?

The number of pitches in my inbox was growing and is still growing, but many of the pitches I get are not really matched to what we cover at Greentech Media. For instance, I’ll get pitches about new hiking trails, attempts to save endangered species or regional environmental efforts not involving technology. Also, we’re noticing more “greenwashing” from companies that aren’t really focused in green technologies.

You were covering clean tech long before it hit today’s level of mainstream attention – how have things changed?

There’s certainly more mainstream interest. Now, cleantech comes up in the mainstream press every day. Politicians talk about it, we see new fundings almost daily and I no longer have to explain what solar power or ethanol is when I write about it – at least not every time. The public is getting more savvy, as are the companies. When I first started, few of the companies I talked to each day had public relations representatives. That has changed.

The news is coming from the tech, VC and energy industries, and when you add in verticals like building, auto and consumer products, things can get complicated. Are there specific sectors or areas you’re paying closer attention to than others?

Yes, we definitely see more of our news coming from the energy area right now – although we also are doing our best to add more coverage in other areas, like water and green IT – and readers also seem to be very interested in car technologies. We try to find a business angle for every story.

Unlike the technology industry, the success of many cleantech companies and products has a lot to do to do with public policy and changes in old industries that are notoriously slow and resistant to change. Do you think the reporting process for cleantech will change in the coming years?

Yes, as the industry starts to mature, I expect we will be moving from covering mostly new technologies and startups to covering more public companies and new applications for the technologies. Especially if, as some have speculated, there continues to be less money going into university and government research in these areas.

Do you have trouble finding the products, people and companies that have the potential to make a real difference?

I wouldn’t say I am seeing a shortage of companies with this potential. But whether they will be successful or not is anybody’s guess. We definitely will have winners and losers.

Rather than specific cleantech news and innovations, are you interested in hearing from companies who are applying these new technologies as part of a corporate social responsibility initiative?

As important as those initiatives are, we will be covering fewer of those types of stories, compared with news about new technologies. However, it’s still worth pitching us because we will occasionally cover those initiatives when they are very big or when they are surprising.

What are you seeing as big risks and challenges this sector has to overcome in the next five to 10 years?

The different parts of the sector are so diverse that they each have their own set of challenges to overcome. But, in general, I think companies will have to meet their promises, avoid too much hype and persuade legislators to approve greentech-friendly policies. One risk still is the historically volatile price of oil. Even though technologies like solar power don’t directly compete with oil, investors’ perceptions do tend to trade solar and other alternative-energy stocks higher when oil prices are high and lower when oil prices are low. Likewise, different parts of the greentech sector risk being influenced – for better or for worse – by the rest of the sector, so that if one piece disappoints, some investors might lose their enthusiasm for other parts of the sector.

The solar industry has already started to consolidate and I expect a lot more to come. Do you think other renewables/clean sectors will see the same thing as startups start to mature? If so, which sectors are next?

Yes, I think consolidation is a natural part of growth and maturity. This is already happening in wind power. Also, alternative cars and energy-efficient lighting are some areas where I expect we might see some consolidation once the technologies are ready. In fact, we already saw Hymotion get purchased by A123Systems, as an example.

Suggestions on how to work with you and what you look for in a story.

I am looking for stories involving both business and technology. That means story pitches should include elements of money and technology aiming to improve the environment. The product must be a technology, an innovative, fairly complicated piece of hardware or software. It also must be purposely created with some green intent. This focus on business and technology might well shift or expand as we grow, but it is what we’re looking for now.

As for working with me, the best way to reach me is to e-mail me at kho@greentechmedia.com. You also can call me at 510-268-9929. Obviously, notifying me early and giving me a scoop or an exclusive makes it more likely you will catch my attention. And if you do call, the best time is in the afternoon, when I’m off the daily deadline.

September 24, 2007 Posted by | clean tech, environment, Journalist Q&As, media, public relations, venture capital | 2 Comments

Clean Tech Q&A: CNET’s Martin LaMonica

CNET LogoMost of us in technology communications have at some point crossed paths with Martin LaMonica at CNET. He has covered everything from application development to big Internet industry trends and news. For the past few years, he has cranked up his clean tech coverage to point where it is now part of his daily beat at one of the most popular sources for news on the Web. He comes at this emerging space from many perspectives and is one of the people that is making a real difference in keeping the public informed as the pieces connect in clean tech. Add him to your list of reporters to watch if he’s not already on it.

Swain: What was your first exposure to clean tech and sustainability issues?

LaMonica: I first wrote about “clean tech” back in 2004 when–guess what!–a PR person pitched me on a solar data center story which I eventually did because I had been interested in alternative energy media for a couple of years. Later in 2004, I did an interview with Nick Parker at the Cleantech Venture Network which gave me a broader perspective on clean tech. It was an important moment because I saw that the clean tech label was large enough to include all sorts of environmental-related technologies–not just solar and wind. I’ve cared about environmental protection for years means so I’ve been aware of sustainability issues.

I subscribe to a lot of green newsletters and feeds and more seem to be popping up every day. Is there currently enough news to support all of the people writing about it? Has the number of green-related pitches increased over the past few months or has it started to level off?

The number of green/clean tech pitches is definitely up in the past few months. It’s a bit early to say if things have leveled off yet. The rising pitch count is clearly a result of companies getting funding and marketing themselves. But even once the VC money slows down, the whole “green” movement won’t go away. It’s clearly becoming a mainstream/front page issue.

Obviously, there’s a lot of experimentation in green media–and I suspect not everyone will stick with it. I think the challenge for tech journalists–and PR folks too–is to get beyond the “clean tech company gets funding” stories that are so common now.

Between you and Michael Kannelos, you’ve been able to stay ahead of things in clean tech – did you start to focus on this topic because of a personal interest or did CNET see that you needed a solid channel covering news relating to business, sustainability and the environment?

I got into it purely out of personal interest but now it’s just part of what CNET covers. Michael’s got a good read on Silicon Valley VCs so he saw that energy/clean tech was a hot area and jumped on it.

Now, clean/green tech is an official part of my beat, rather than something I write about once in a while. Other CNET reporters cover green tech, too. We’ve also hired some high-profile people in the industry for the green tech channel on our Blog Network, so we’re committed to it.

The news is coming from the tech, VC and energy industries, and when you add in verticals like building, auto and consumer products, things can get complicated. Are there specific sectors or areas you’re paying closer attention to than others?

Yes, you could argue that the clean tech label is too broad. We don’t have very specific beats–yet, anyway. But I write about power generation technologies (solar, wind, biomass), fuels, financial stories, green buildings, and a bit of policy. Generally, I want a tech/innovation angle to a story, which is natural to me as I’ve covered IT for years.

Unlike the technology industry, the success of many clean tech companies and products has a lot to do with public policy and changes in old industries that are notoriously slow and resistant to change. On one side we have Web 2.0 and changing delivery models for software that allow startups to get moving and see success in a year or two with little up front capital. On the other, we have clean tech where things can move slowly and could take years if not decades to see real results. Do you think the reporting process for clean tech will change in the coming years when the industry starts to mature?

A lot of clean tech coverage these days is about start-ups trying cool things. These are great stories but at a certain point, if that’s all a media outlet is doing, it’s going to look shallow. We’re starting to see some stories about companies merging, failing to develop the technology they promised, or replacing CEOs. So I think the better media outlets will do these follow-up business stories.

Another thing that the better outlets will do is follow the larger issues and trends around clean tech. A lot of these new energy technologies have lots of tradeoffs–think biofuels and the whole food versus fuel debate, for example–that media outlets should try to cover.

Do you have trouble finding the products, people and companies that have the potential to make a real difference?

Clean tech is tricky in this regard. Many old ideas are being dusted off and tried again. And some of them–like solar thermal at utility scale–are totally viable. But then again, you run across claims from academics or entrepreneurs claiming to make “free energy” or enable the “hydrogen economy” tomorrow. So you have to be discerning. That said, I’m always looking for more great stories and interesting people who have the potential to make a difference.

Are you most interested in hearing from big technology companies, clean tech startups, or companies who are making investments in new technologies like solar or green data centers that can make their businesses more sustainable?

Startups tend to be the most fun because entrepreneurs are generally passionate about what they’re doing. But large corporations have a huge amount of weight and the money to invest in R & D, so I’d like to hear more from them. I haven’t done a lot of coverage of “sustainable business” practices but I think it’s got potential.

What should the clean tech community know about CNET?

We cover clean/green tech in various forms in different places. You’ll see more consumer oriented items in places like Crave or CNET.com while more of the business coverage at News.com and in the Blog Network.

Suggestions on how to work with you and what you look for in a story?

I’m always looking for news so timeliness is important. And in general, I’m looking for a tech-related story, although that’s not all I’ll do. It seems that certain areas got lots of attention, like solar these days, but I think I’m not afraid of less glamorous topics if it looks like it could have wide appeal. (I did a story on a combined heat and power home furnace and readers loved it.) Email’s generally the best way to pitch me.

July 23, 2007 Posted by | clean energy, clean tech, Journalist Q&As, public relations, sustainable business, venture capital | 1 Comment

GigaOm introduces Earth2Tech

Earth2TechIt’s been a busy year for produces of green business news. We’ve seen dozens of new blogs emerge, mainstay outlets like CNET, BusinessWeek, Technology Review and Business 2.0 have cranked up their dedicated green coverage, and major players like Greener World Media, Green Options and World Changing have continued to up the ante with more content focused on business, technology and the environment. So it’s no surprise that GigaOm has formally introduced its green channel, Earth2Tech, which they describe as:

One part clean tech startup coverage – (a quick look at clean tech venture numbers shows the growing ranks of startups in hot areas like solar and biofuels); One part reviews of tech giant’s eco-initiatives (is Google’s carbon neutral initiative more marketing or responsible plan?); One part a resource page for entrepreneurs and Valley types looking for green tech [tools, rules, tips] – LBS meets ethanol?

I met with Om in April and he said this was coming so it’s great to see the official roll-out. Looking forward to seeing how Adena DeMonte, Katie Fehrenbacher and the GigaOm team approach the space. There’s no shortage of places to turn for green business news… all of this competition between content producers should lead to some great coverage.

July 16, 2007 Posted by | blogging, clean energy, clean tech, Silicon Valley, Uncategorized, venture capital | 2 Comments

Clean Tech Q&A: Business 2.0’s Todd Woody

Business 2.0 LogoAs an assigning editor for Business 2.0’s green tech coverage and writer of the popular Green Wombat blog, Todd Woody is living the Bay Area green boom. He is no stranger to booms having experienced the party days at the Industry Standard before moving on to the San Jose Mercury News. Todd sat down with me for coffee a few weeks ago to talk about the current green business market. I was glad to have the opportunity – we’ve seen countless reporters move on to the sustainable business and clean technology beat but few bring a history in all the things making up this new industry: environment, technology, business, public policy and venture capital.

Swain: What was your first exposure to clean tech and sustainability issues?

Woody: While I covered environmental issues in the 1990s as a reporter, it was during the California energy crisis of 2000-2001 that I began to notice growing interest in solar energy and other green/clean tech issues. At the time I was a senior editor at The Industry Standard magazine and was assigning stories on alternative energy as California suffered brownouts and PG&E went bankrupt. By the time I became the business editor of the San Jose Mercury News in 2005, it was clear that a new boom was brewing as VC funding for green tech ventures began to take off.

You were covering environmental issues long before the current convergence of the tech, VC and energy industries; how have things changed?

I would say the biggest change has been the growing alliance between environmental groups and big business to tackle global warming and other issues. There’s a growing consensus that the market can be a mechanism to address such challenges. While Environmental Defense had taken a market-oriented approach to solving environmental problems back in the ‘90s, EDF – as it was known back then – the Natural Resources Defense Council and other big green groups were more inclined then to sue business and government for environmental law violations and lax enforcement. Now you have the extraordinary situation where Environmental Defense has hired an investment firm (Perella Weinberg Partners) to advise it on the takeover of Texas utility TXU. That’s because the private equity firms behind the acquisition of TXU gave ED a prominent place at the table in negotiating the deal. Roll over Rachel Carson.

There’s so much hype – do you have trouble finding the products, people and companies that have the potential to make a real difference?

In any boom there will be those companies that over-promise or are just selling pure hype. But unlike the dot-com boom, most green tech companies are dealing in hard technology and are often run by engineers and scientists who tend to be less prone to exaggeration and self-promotion. Of course, even companies that have promising technology still can fail or the technology may not live up to its potential. Nevertheless, you have to do your due diligence – particularly with companies that are offering services like carbon offsets – to verify their claims or substantiate their methodology.

Your Green Wombat blog gives you a chance to do a lot of high frequency original reporting – where do you go for information to make sure you stay ahead of things?

I subscribe to scores of RSS feeds from governmental agencies, companies and environmental groups. I attend conferences and I meet with people in the field. The great thing about being based in San Francisco is that the Bay Area is ground zero for green tech. Some of the major players are within walking distance of my office.

What should the clean tech community know about Business 2.0?

We consider this to be a huge and important story and we’re aggressively pursing it. In fact, I’m spending just about all my time on green tech issues, both as an assigning editor and as a writer/blogger.

Suggestions on how to work with you and what you look for in a story?

Always email me pitches as I don’t have time to take notes on a pitch made by phone. For both the blog and the magazine I’m looking for original stories, ideas or angles (the worse thing you can do is preface a pitch by saying “You may have seen the story on Company X in the Wall Street Journal…..”) If you’re pitching for the blog you have a lot more leeway. I’ll consider any relevant idea and am happy to meet with green tech people/companies. The key is timeliness. If there’s going to be a news announcement on, say, Wednesday, I want to know about it in advance and get all the relevant embargoed documents so I can have a post up when the news hits. If it’s already over the Internet, my interest falls rapidly. The print magazine is whole different story. You need to know what we’re about and what kind of stories we do. The original and unique rule holds but the bar is much, much higher to get into the magazine for obvious reasons. But whether you’re pitching for Business 2.0 or Green Wombat it’s essential you read the publication and target your pitches accordingly.

March 30, 2007 Posted by | clean energy, clean tech, Journalist Q&As, media, public relations, Silicon Valley, sustainable business, venture capital | 1 Comment

Clean Tech Q&A: Reuters’ Eric Auchard

Reuters Logo
I recently sat down with veteran Silicon Valley journalist Eric Auchard for his observations on the intersection of technology and energy industry reporting. Eric is the chief technology correspondent at Reuters. When he’s not covering industry giants like Google, eBay, Yahoo! and Apple, he’s following the venture capital industry and covering disruptive and emerging technologies and companies. How does clean tech fit in? It’s disruptive, emerging and flowing with new venture dollars.

Eric’s observations reinforced the reason behind starting this blog. Whatever you want to call clean tech, it is, as he puts it, “a category that blurs the boundaries between industries and is hard for the media to define exactly.” The industry needs to be covered from all corners: regulatory, energy and tech. The same way that many clean tech industry executives and PR people don’t have expertise in all of these areas, neither do many reporters. And that’s what makes this exciting.

Swain: What’s caught your attention with clean tech?

Auchard: Traditional computer and tech investors are embracing energy as a subject; they’re applying the same business logic and application of ideas that they used to build the tech industry. So many people have a play in this and they are coming at it from all sides – energy, environment, tech, etc. “Clean tech” to many reporters is euphemistic sounding. It should be called energy and environmental technologies, or renewable energy for short.

What’s your first experience to clean tech and sustainability issues?

Twenty-five years ago the one science course I took at college at Berkeley was with Dr. Arthur Rosenfeld, who is now a guru for many in the ‘clean-tech’ movement. Even then he was talking about the intersection of science, economics and conservation.

That’s interesting; is clean tech becoming more like computer tech?

Silicon Valley could be seen as shoehorning clean tech into Silicon Valley business models rather than following the more science-based route. This begs the questions of which is the right way.

What are you hearing in the field?

One of the biggest challenges for clean tech startups is finding top management teams. People from the computer field are finding their way into industry. In the past there were a lot of scientists and ideas but the energy industry needed the startup culture and constant innovation inherent in tech. This is what’s changing under the radar: veteran tech managers and a startup culture are coming together.

What are some of the more promising things you’re seeing?

I’m hearing more about the prospect of increased alternative energy IPOs in 2008. VCs are actually starting to talk about getting their money back. A lot of portfolio companies that we’ve yet to hear about are more like science projects. Ambitious things are happening. And there’s a lot of energy and a crazy willingness to try things that have been missing from the industry previously. This is a good sign that there is more to come. It’s a good old fashioned brawl involving lots of industries, lots of powerful people, and some big problems. This isn’t a place just for do-gooders. For a reporter, it’s hard not to love such stories.

How does this compare with the coverage of the computer industry?

There are different challenges bringing tech into the energy industry, such as a bureaucratic vs. entrepreneurial mindset. Also, there are no anti-trust degrees barring oil companies and oil producing countries from driving prices down to undermine alternative technologies. Big oil could be compared to how telecom used to be viewed in Silicon Valley. I remember how disparaging Intel’s Andy Grove used to be about the telecom industry. The tension with oil companies feels similar.

As a PR person, it’s hard to find the right contact for a clean tech story; any suggestions?

Energy reporters are used to covering things in certain ways and they’re still adjusting to the way Silicon Valley companies use PR. Bringing tech ideas to market is still uncomfortable for a lot of people who have been covering the energy industry. PR needs to help journalists find analysts and independent experts to put a clean tech story in perspective. Environmental and energy issues are highly local, regulated and concentrated. At the same time that tech reporters aren’t used to this, energy reporters aren’t used to the level of invention that have characterized the computer industry.

You meet with a lot of VCs; what are you hearing?

Almost all VCs are talking about this space. But a few are taking a more integrated approach. Some are conceiving the whole industrial food chain and are solving specific problems within the chain.

What should the clean tech community know about Reuters?

A big enough story has the potential to reach more than one billion people around the world. Reuters’ content is picked up on TV by the likes of CNN, CNBC, ABC and NBC, and by almost all major newspapers and radio stations. Reuters has a variety of energy reporters around the country. We have also developed an Environment reporting team that is staffed with journalists around the world. If your story is somewhere in between energy and tech and you don’t know who to go to, I can help direct you to the most logical reporter.

Suggestions on how to best work with you?

The best times to reach me are during non-peak hours, 10am-noon and after 3pm PT. Pitch stories that have an international element or some major challenge to the industry when possible; “me too” stories don’t work – need to have real news; and measure change, show importance and find disagreements/conflict. An interesting clean tech story is a disruptive solution that has potential to scale – it can work in Africa and North America at the same time. Show the mainstream implication of what you’re pitching. Extra credit for pronouncing Reuters and my last name correctly.

February 21, 2007 Posted by | clean energy, clean tech, media, public relations, Silicon Valley, venture capital | 5 Comments

Inside the Clean-tech Investor Summit

For all of us that weren’t able to make it to last week’s clean tech event in Palm Springs, Dana Childs of inside greentech gives us the inside scoop, “Postcards from the Clean-tech Investor Summit.” According to Steve Westley, former controller for the State of California and former senior vice president of eBay:

“There’s about to be another shakeout – you can count on it – and it will come down to how quickly you can move,” he said to the crowd. “You’re either going to be a steamroller, or you’re going to be roadkill. And it’s better to be the steamroller. The entrepreneurs that will survive will be those that move quickly.”

January 28, 2007 Posted by | clean tech, sustainable business, venture capital | Leave a comment