IESE Meets The Valley day 4: Energy and some real Silicon Valley examples

Today was our most packed day of the week. We started with Bloom, an energy company. We followed with Cooliris, a real startup revolutionizing the way we consume photos. Then went on to an anti-virus / security company that is taking on the big guys. We ended our day with an Energy Night, meeting 3 energy companies.

Bloom

To be honest, I didn’t have a lot of expectations as I am not into the energy scene. However I was really amazed by the technology they have developed and are developing. One of their cells the size of a shoe box can power a house, much cleaner and at lower costs than current grid prices. They are placing the generation at the point of consumption, getting around the distribution, saving more money. We saw a fuel cell that powered their factory.

Cooliris

For me, this second visit of the day is certainly a good contender for best visit of our week. Firstly I embarrassed myself. I accidently walked into the office of someone I saw coding. I asked him what he was doing and then how long he worked there. He then told me he was one of the founders: Austin, so that was kind of embarrassing. However this is also typical of the Valley. A founder, working alongside the rest of the company, not in anyway distinguishable from the rest of the group. We had a great company demo that really produced some “aw” moments. Cooliris really put forward their 2 founders to talk to us, allowing us to ask all the questions we wanted. It was really insightful.

Zynga & Webroot: two different worlds and different products

Next we visited the Zynga campus. It was a building filled with: Games and work spaces. Zynga employees sometimes spend 14hrs at the office. They have most imaginable services available in the office. From free meals, to hairdressers. It was surprising how data-driven Zynga is. They analyze everything and then manage product development accordingly. Zynga sat us down in a large room with sofas and did a Q&A with one of their product managers. Webroot followed which was like a different world. We were brought into a really nice high class building. We’d sent all the companies a list of questions beforehand and Webroot answered all of them. We discussed security software and how they were able to conquer a space in this already crowded. Their answer was simple: Webroot has software that is 100x smaller and 10x faster than the big guys. By the way, we all got licenses for 3 PCs and I will definitely install as soon as I get the chance. Something else I was made aware of: Macs and mobile phones are also not safe anymore

Energy Night

Our longest day of the week ended with a panel discussion. 3 companies joined us: PG&E, Sunpreme and Emeter. We discussed different things like regulation, price of energy, and how to communicate with end consumers. We enjoyed the great wine from Varduero.

 

This long day has left me even more interested in startups, entrepreneurship and even more interested in working in this area.