Climate-KIC entrepreneurs pose with BRD Motorcycles CEO Marc Fenigstein (right) and one of his start-up’s earlier prototypes
European cleantech entrepreneurs are visiting start-up companies in Silicon Valley this week as part of a two week business visit – the US Start-up Tour – across the United States.
The Climate-KIC supported startups are in the US until septemer 18th and have all developed and commercialised technologies that help consumers, businesses and governments mitigate and adapt to the consequences of climate change.
Yesterday (10 september), the cleantech entrepreneurs visited the San Francisco workshop of BRD , an electric motorcycle start-up. Co-founder and CEO – and self-proclaimed Rapidisto-in-Chief – Marc Fenigstein provided a sneak preview of BRD’s latest model, due to be unveiled next month.
During the meeting, Fenigstein emphasised how clean technology is no longer confined to those concerned with the environment. BRD for one, produces motocross bikes that “are so damn sexy everyone wants one, including folks that bathe in gasoline,” says Fenigstein.
Although Silicon Valley is widely known for companies in the digital space such as Google, Facebook and Apple, it has also become a launchpad for companies such as Fenigstein’s BRD – and its four-wheeled counterpart Tesla Motors.
Earlier this week UC Berkley’s Drew Isaacs explained to visiting start-ups that the San Francisco Bay area is a natural fit for companies like Tesla and BRD, “Why is Tesla here? It is not a car. It is a computer and it’s got wheels,” he said.
Climate-KIC start-ups Cohere and ViriCiti are both active in the electric vehicle space and picked up awards at a pitching competition in San Francisco on 9 September. The jury’s decision to reward Cohere’s pitch for its cost saving fast-charge technology and ViriCiti’s presentation of its electric city bus optimisation system underlined the present trend.
California also offers a willing local market for cleantech companies. The current drought – one of the worst on record – means there is a lot of social pressure to “go green” Isaacs said, highlighting that the cleantech sector cannot just focus on energy, “It’s easier to create green energy than it is to create water.”
Climate-KIC start-up Crystal Shower experienced the local demand for water-saving technology first hand, winning the audience award at the pitching competition. The company’s self-recycling shower radically reduces the use of water – while actually delivering three times more water than a traditional shower.
US Start-up Tour
The 2014 US Start-up Tour is a vital part of Climate-KIC’s mission to create opportunities for innovators to address climate change and shape the world’s next economy, highlighting the opportunities offered by Europe’s flourishing cleantech sector and creating new, global networks.
This year’s tour provides participants with vital international experience, mentoring, networking and potential investment opportunities bringing them to Silicon Valley and the Boston area between 7 and 18 September. Follow the tour at www.climate-kic.org/USA2014.