cleantech insights

Shiply – don’t come back empty handed

Stephen Marcus

If you’re like me and spend many a late night perusing eBay in search for the latest gadget that I don’t need but will endeavour to find a use for, you may understand me when I say that often, the only thing standing in between me and that “BUY IT NOW” button is the prospect of high or uncertain shipping costs.

UK-based Shiply obviously felt my pain and came up with the idea of creating an online goods delivery market place where people list items thy need delivered and then receive bids from transport companies to carry out the work. The cleantech twist? The platform allows transporters to monetize journeys that they may be travelling anyway with spare capacity, particularly return journeys after single trip drop offs.

For a detailed profile of Shiply as well as a host of other leading innovating cleantech companies, see Cleantech Group’s new i3 platform (for subscribers only).

The user experience process works as follows. The “deliverees” (as I like to call them) first post up their item to be delivered including the description, weight, dimensions, pick up and drop off locations. If the item is listed on eBay, the information can be automatically ported …


GreenRoad – Driving the change with driver behaviour change solutions

Stephen Marcus

Much money has been spilt on developing more fuel efficient ICE vehicle engines, lighter and stronger materials, and more aerodynamic designs in attempts to obviate the need for that last drop of oil while driving. Driver behaviour, on the other hand, has frequently been left out of the equation, even though it accounts for an estimated 33% of total fuel consumption. California-based GreenRoad Technologies is filling this void.

Since 2003, GreenRoad has been developing software, hardware and change management solutions to optimize driving behavior from a safety, fuel efficiency, and vehicle stress point of view. Its flagship commercial service – GreenRoad 360 – monitors 120 separate driving events in five categories: speed handling, cornering, land handling, braking, and acceleration. The technology analyses a driver’s movements and recognizes unsafe or inefficient driving that then feedbacks back to drivers immediately and enables them to improve their driving fuel-efficiency and safety. GreenRoad engages with drivers on a long term basis through its online web portal which aggregates driver behaviour over time and provides individual coaching. The company also works closely with fleet managers to implement sophisticated change management solutions.

The end result, GreenRoad believes, is larger and more sustained fuel savings for clients. …

Smart Transportation – innovating in a market worth 20% of GDP

Stephen Marcus

Mobility is one of the most fundamental and important characteristics of economic activity. We all have the basic need of going from one place to another – whether you are a business exec travelling across town (or even internationally) for a meeting, a manufacturer moving its product from the factory to the shop floor, or a parent dropping their kids off at school.

The extent to which mobility has shaped and changed society is not thought about enough. The development of the early rudimentary transportation networks was arguably the catalyst that led to the formation of the first multinational corporations, as well as enabled the major flows of international migration that has occurred since the 18th century. Today, transportation has become so integrated into our economies it accounts for 10-20% of total GDP spending in many major economies.

Whilst there is no doubt that more efficient mobility networks will continue to be a major contributor to future wealth creation and social welfare, it is quite clear that parts of our transportation networks are used above their designed capacity resulting in associated costs such as congestion (see: 2 week traffic jam on China expressway), accidents, and harmful urban air …

Behavior Modification – Icing on the Cake

Debjit Mukerji

I do not place great faith, in principle, in solutions that require changes in end user behavior.  For the majority – and particularly those that lack discretionary income and time – economics and convenience rule.  We stick with what we know, and what costs the least.  But while behavior modification may not be as impactful as scientific breakthroughs or create and move markets, it does play a supporting role. 

My research colleague Emma Ritch touched upon this topic last week.  While the benefits articulated there were economically insignificant, they were “freely” obtained – by a simple adjustment in a repetitive daily practice.  Examples of conscious habit-change for the sake of energy or emissions reduction abound. On the transportation front, “hypermiling” has made its way into the automotive lexicon as well as the cabins of thousands of enviro-drivers.  The prospect of zero-to-sixty in twelve seconds and coasting to a stop rather than slamming on the brakes inches before the limit line may lull redline-craving motorsports enthusiasts to gentle slumber.  But proper execution of such “ecological” driving guidelines can reduce fuel consumption by 5-10%.  These are not huge numbers, but a step in the right direction and a complement …

GreenRoad nets $15M for driving software

Emma Ritch

Redwood Shores, Calif.-based GreenRoad said today it secured $15 million in growth funding for its software and hardware combination that helps drivers improve their fuel economy.

The funding is expected to help GreenRoad accelerate its expansion with enterprise fleet customers.

New investor DAG Ventures led the round, with participation from existing investors Benchmark Capital, Virgin Green Fund, Amadeus Capital and Balderton Capital. The company raised a Series C round of $17.5 million in July 2008 from the previous investors.

GreenRoad said its technology can help drivers improve fuel economy by 10 perecnt. The real-time feedback from the hardware installed on the vehicle provides coaching, reporting and risk analysis tools that the company says can also reduce crash costs by 50 percent.

The technology analyzes a driver’s maneuvers, recognizing unsafe or inefficient movements and immediately alerts the driver and sends feedback to the Web. The company presented the technology to investors at the Cleantech Forum XXI in San Francisco in February (see Hottest startups woo cleantech investors with wide-ranging tech).

GreenRoad expects to sell more than 20,000 vehicle subscriptions by the end of 2009 and close to 200,000 subscriptions by 2011.

The company sells its products in the U.S. …