Well, I’ve had a big few weeks so apologies for not blogging for a while.
We’re now two months into our beta with Carbon Voyage. It has been interesting, and we are learning a lot, which I guess is one of the important parts of launching a new service. We have a very iterative process that we use with building our technology and propositions. I guess from my perspective that this is very similar to something taught in the military called the Boyd Cycle (also known as the OODA loop – Observe, Orient, Decide, Act). This was originally constructed by looking at aerial dogfights in Korea between MiGs and the USA Air Force. Fundamentally (from my perspective), it is about being very proactive in dealing with what the competitive landscape looks like and what customer feedback is. Our ability to iterate quickly will be a a key contributor to our success as a business.
I’ve also started doing some videos for the business. I was interviewed by Hugh Mason from Pembridge LLP for a video that is being compiled that talks about the Gateway to Investment Program. This week, Dan Ilett from Greenbang and I have started a weekly video talking about what it’s like to run a startup at the moment which you can see below. Dan hase just launched a new company called Clean Analysis, which researches cleantech companies, technologies, legislation and services and how they fit into a vision of sustainable practices in 2020.
And finally, it’s been lovely to see that amazing story of Susan Boyle and the previous one of Paul Potts, both of whom have the most amazing voices.
My father sent me a copy of “Now or Never: A sustainable future for Australia?“, which is a Quarterly Essay series. The paper was written by Tim Flannery, an eminent Australian scientist. It is an excellent essay. Interestingly, he was quite supportive of clean coal initiatives which would put him at odds with the guys from Age of Stupid (Peter Postlethwaite and some of the others have vowed not to ever vote for the UK Government again if they support the building of a new coal power station in the UK. One of my soldiers asked me about whether it was a bit strange that I was committed to environmental matters while being an army officer, and I guess the right answer is that the military has to be very mindful of the effects of climate change. Recent natural disasters have highlighted that military forces have been crucial to the provision of aid (eg. tsunami in Indonesia, Hurricane Katrina, bushfires in Australia etc). It would actually be quite interesting to contemplate the different military scenarios and implications arising from this whole issue – what may military forces be called upon to do, what happens if food supplies and other resources need to be fought over…
In other news, we in Carbon Voyage are working on our next software release, which should be out in a few days time. As with any beta trial, we have been fortunate to get a whole lot of feedback which has now been incorporated into our technology roadmap, and many features will be coming out in the next few weeks.
So today, the team at Carbon Voyage were involved in moving a LOT of plants and other bits and pieces into Leicester Square for the premiere of Age of Stupid. This is an amazing film, starring Peter Postlethwaite and set 50 years in the future, looking back at where we are now, and highlighting the tragedy of why society as a whole is generally complacent towards the looming point of no return caused by our treatment of the environment. I really commend this film to everyone – it is a must see! It would also be remiss of me if I failed to mention that the film premiere is being held in a solar powered theatre, and it’s carbon footprint is tiny in comparison to most film premieres.
It is only the end of day two of this week and quite a bit has happened. We had a shareholder/ management team meeting on Monday which was very useful, but actually didn’t quite follow the agenda set out. It was at a great venue on the Thames called Bacchanalia which is where we held our launch party recently.
In other news, I’ve started the process of looking for the next lot of funding for the business. Fortunately we now have working technology, a growing supply chain and even some early revenues; however, it will still be challenging to get funding whether equity or debt. There is a great program in London called Gateway to Investment or g2i and they have been really useful in framing an investment note for investors in their network. I’ve also applied for the ifund and the Blackberry Partners Fund as there are mobile applications that we are looking to launch in the near future. There is an interesting predicament around looking for the right funding source at the moment, as I fundamentally think that the amount needed to fund something with really big potential is just so much less than what traditional venture capitalists are used to dealing with (particularly if you consider that a good web application may cost only a few thousand pounds to develop). I had lunch with a very good friend today and was chatting about the funding situation for the business (and also what is happening with lots of start ups at the moment) and it brought home again the value of bootstrapping a business – it creates focus and discipline that doesn’t necessarily exist when you are flush with cash. There is a great post by Jeff Pulver that talks about the same thing.
There are at least two more exciting things to talk about, but I need to do that on Thursday once some things are put in place, and one of them involves a film that is way cooler than An Inconvenient Truth 🙂
Finally, after quite a lot of work in the last two years or so, Carbon Voyage finally launched. Our friends at Greenbang assisted in covering the event. The strapline of the business is ‘getting you from a to b without costing the earth.’ What we are doing is providing a car-booking service that helps people to cut the cost and carbon footprint of using private car hire.
If anyone is keen to trial the beta service should contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am presently trialing three things at present – KickApps and Webjam for European Young Professionals as earlier indicated – and more importantly, PlaxoPlus, for myself. I am at that point where I have way too many contacts and it was suggested that Plaxo’s premium services will assist with this. I am really looking forward to see if this works as I have no backup for my phone contacts – and three places where all my email addresses are stored!
In other news, it was interesting to read in the Guardian about some software that can be loaded on mobile phones that allows you to track your carbon footprint by virtue of GPS. This sounds really interesting but I wonder how accurate it really can be, particularly as different vehciles will have different carbon emissions (and of course if there is more than one person in a vehicle/ plane, what is the actual carbon emissions per person).
EYP held our event last night at the Kensington Roof Gardens – a truly spectacular venue. It was quite strange to be in a garden on the top of a building, but fantastic regardless. I hope it isn’t the last time I go there!
GoLow also got mentioned in Greenbang’s list of top environmental start ups in the UK, so it was great to get that recognition for all the work that has gone on. To read the whole report, just click here.