Sustainability and the VC Taskforce Roundtable

Each month the VC Taskforce hosts The Elevator Pitch Roundtable an opportunity for entrepreneurs “in a startup that is currently seeking capital” to present a 90-second elevator pitch to a panel of VCs, usually four. These are very interesting as the panel gives a score of their interests based on the pitch and the Q/A that follows.

If I were to expand beyond my experience with this group it seems to me many VC’s, not ALL of course, have no sustainability strategy for their investment activities. If they venture outside the business as usual space, they have a laundry list of sustainability related categories, as do the big consulting firms. See my blog article below on laundry lists. Mobile, alternative energy and bio refineries is a list from Khosla Ventures and under “the things we care about”  (Khosla Ventures), you will find some of this and some of that.

  • Microfinance – SKS, SHARE, ASA, CFTS, Jamii Bora Grameen USA, Unitus – with a goal to provide credit to over 25 million “below poverty line” borrowers. See also An Anti-Poverty Success Story; Video
  • Environment – GE Ecomagination Advisory Council, Chairman of India Advisory Board of the Cleantech Network
  • Education – Indian School of Business – a world class school of business, – teachers ask for private funding on thousands of projects
  • Health – Public Health Institutes of India, UNICEF
  • Affordable housing – Global Home – goaled to build a $5000 home!

Companies need to put all the wood behind one arrow as spreading energies across a broad spectrum of sustainability categories has proven to be pretty ineffective.  Jeffrey Hollinger of Seventh Generation hits the nail on the head when he talks about the need for companies – and VCs are no exception – to make sustainability their core business strategy.

At one Roundtable they poohed-poohed two technologies relating to reducing energy consumption in existing buildings (big, big source of greenhouse gases), but got  excited over a travel Website catering to honeymooners.  That’s when the question entered my mind: Are we twittering while Rome burns?

It’s going to take more than Al Gore to turn things around, if they can be turned around.

One thought on “Sustainability and the VC Taskforce Roundtable

  1. Harry Theurer

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