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 🙂
I’ve now started up an official Carbon Voyage Blog which will have all of the press releases as well as some more informal bits and pieces about what the company is doing. Also, we’ve now set up groups on LinkedIn and Facebook so feel free to join!!!
We’re now a week into our beta launch and fortunately there have been no major problems with bookings thus far, and more importantly we’ve had some really good feedback about the website and ideas about the service which is something that you can only start getting once people are using the service.
Other than that, EYP launched in Dublin last week and following that, we have some terrific momentum going there. The team that is running with things there is absolutely fantastic, and we have an exciting next event coming up in April. Following our launch in Dublin, we are planning additional launches in three more European cities before the middle of the year – so lots of work to do!
And finally, if anyone is in London next Wednesday night, come along to our next EYP event.
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
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.
So I finally did my first ever radio interview today, although it won’t go on air for about three weeks. It was to promote GoLow and an event that is being run by EYP. The radio station is Passion for the Planet and they will be one of our media partners for our October EYP event, which is focused on environmental issues. We will be fortunate to have Dan Ilett from Greenbang as a moderator for our panel discussion which is shaping up to have some really interesting participants.
I think EYP is starting to mature in terms of some of the events that we are doing. Our next event is at the Kensington Roof Gardens, owned by Sir Richard Branson, and is almost fully subcribed after a few days of bookings being open. Our October event is looking really cool, and in November we are planning to do a massive speed networking in London in partnership with Make Your Mark for Global Enterprise Week. And we have some goodies lined up for next year.
A gluton for punishment, I have set up a more formal business GoLow blog – so now I really can’t be too slack with posting.
And finally, I really liked reading about the recently completed operation in Afghanistan where several thousand soldiers got involved in delivering a turbine to a key power station. Providing basic services to locals in such conditions can be quite a challenge but is so unbelievably valuable.