VLAB had a very interesting line-up on Tuesday in a packed house at Stanford's Business School.
Ron Gonen, the CEO of RecycleBank, might have the most interesting doppelgoogle ever. He also has an interesting business model for recycling, one that allows consumers to acquire frequency points for recycling. The concept hinges on RFID chips that allow operators to match recycling with recycler.
An engaging, dynamic speaker -- who knows how to flatter Californians -- Ron reports 90% penetration in the communities he's launched within. He gets quite a bit of interesting information based on the places the recycler-consumers choose to spend their frequency points. He notes that low-income neighborhoods use their points at the supermarket.
One of his points that I think bears repeating here: he strives to leave some money on the table with respect to charging municipalities so that the municipality can point to the success of the program and build positive community cohesion.
The second presenter was the CEO of Lucid Design. This company creates real-time energy use dashboards for commercial building owners. He made mention of a reality TV show that is a competition for lowering the carbon footprint. The winner? 50% Saved.
The last commercial presenter was the founder of GreenPlug, a company that makes chips and gives firmware to companies: Pip Coburn, are you here? (Pip had a very memorable picture in his book "The Change Function" that rails upon the excessive amount of computer hardware that must be lugged.) The hardware automatically recognizes what the specific device needs, and turns off after it's fully charged. Further, it's created for easy disassembly, minimizing e-waste.