A day after Earth Day, the planet was still on the minds of sustainable startup hopefuls attending the Cleantech Open West's Green Build event hosted by Zoho Corporation in Pleasanton.
The evening's all-star panel included Peter Rumsey, CEO and Founder of Point Energy Innovations, Sachlene Singh, Technical Evangelist for Autodesk, Espen Sivertsen, CEO and Co-Founder at Type A Machines, and Brandon Tinianov, Senior Director at View and Board Member at USGBC Northern California Chapter.
The panel was moderated by Brandon Cardwell of iGate, a technology incubator in downtown Livermore partnered with Lawrence Livermore and Sandia labs. Cardwell asked what types of innovations the panelists were seeing in clean technology.
Singh brought up the current drought and the need for smart devices to optimize water consumption and usage, especially in irrigation.
Green building expert Rumsey brought the audience's attention to the noise they were hearing from the auditorium's HVAC system, which he said indicated an inefficiency that could be greatly improved.
The topic turned to the difficulty of raising money, which is a major concern for startups. Today's climate for clean technology investing is much more difficult than it was before 2008, they noted.
Singh mentioned that many startups focus on their technology and invest in marketing, but may struggle when they start to succeed and need to grow. "At some point you need to scale fast," she said. "I don't think most startups think about that stage."
Next up on stage was a Panel of Cleantech Open alumni including Subarna Bhattacharyya of Climformatics, Carter Hallock of Rethink Green, Inc, and Eric Cummings of MaxOut Renewables.
All noted that they made valuable connections as a result of the program. 'As a result of the Cleantech Open we had the network we needed to get funding" said Cummings, who went through the process a second time to renew momentum. 'It was a tremendous program for us.'
By Kim Chase on in Western