Ever since the death of Cleantech was declared by the media, (check out this visual data and this coexist article) everyone remotely connected to this industry and anyone that was benefiting from it has started to look for ways to either stay relevant or continue to make some money. With a little creativity, and the emergence of some companies, the term ‘Cleanweb’ has been developed to ensure that the money continues to flow and the interest does not wane.
But what is Cleanweb? Cleanweb technologies are internet, social and mobile-based technologies utilized to solve the problems of sustainability or resource constraints. Launching a Cleanweb company is less constrained than it is to launch a more capital intensive Cleantech company; all that is required is the identification of resource inefficiencies, a website, mobile app and engagement of consumers at less than the cost of a solar panel.
In a loose sense, companies like ThredUp, clothes swapping, and AirBnB, renting personal spaces to those looking for a place to stay during their travels, are being lumped into the Cleanweb group. This is because these companies are leveraging another new phenomenon being dubbed as Collaborative Consumption, or the shared economy as laid out in ‘What’s Mine Is Yours’. Companies, in my opinion, that should be classified as Cleanweb companies are those that address the resource issues of Energy (with transportation under this umbrella) and Food; these are resources that are being depleted and are for the most part not man made. The movement is being led by incubators, investors and companies like (hint: I include Power2Switch).
WegoWise: Provides an affordable tool for monitoring and the use of water and energy in multifamily and single family buildings. We at Power2Switch should probably partner with this Boston based company as we also target the multifamily and single-family homes.
Scoot Networks: Currently only in SF, this recent Greenstart alum is doing for Scooters what Zipcar did for cars. With its fleet of smartphone-enabled, 30 MPH, electric Vespas offered in a sharing system Scoot Networks is helping solve both the transportation and energy waste (from spending hours in traffic). Definitely one we need here in Chicago soon!
Flashfood: Considering it is claimed that about one-third of the world’s supply of food is wasted (especially in the US), Flashfood is a solution to a huge problem: food shortage. With it’s social media powered mobile food recovery network, FlashFood collects excess food from restaurants, caterers and convention and delivers it to nearby community centers.
Power2Switch: Apart from our electricity price comparison platform that enables consumers to find the cheapest or greenest electricity supplier, we are launching our Kilowatts of Kindness initiative. Kilowatts of Kindness is a Social Energy Platform that will allow people to “share energy” with families in need. The goal of Kilowatts of Kindness is to drive social collaboration among customers, who choose to switch their energy supplier with Power2Switch, by giving them an opportunity to share their savings with other citizens or families who are unable to afford electricity. We think it’s pretty cool and hope you do too!
Here’s to Cleanweb, collaborative consumption and the sharing economy being the next big thing.