If you’re not paying attention to what’s going on in energy, you should. We’ve seen this movie before. Spoiler alert: There’s massive economic opportunity ahead. How massive? Imagine standing in 1992, knowing that Google, Akamai, Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, eBay, BuzzFeed and Uber lay ahead.
This time it’s the “enernet,” not the internet, that will transform our lives. The story is the same, though the players have changed.
Here’s the tee up. Across the country, incumbent network providers operate highly centralized networks in their respective cities. Then, scrappy local outfits start serving the market with innovative, distributed technology. These startups create competition, and a new network emerges atop the legacy network.
That was the backdrop 30 years ago when a little thing called the internet emerged. Startups like CompuServe, AOL, EarthLink, Netcom and a host of other local ISPs kicked off the conversion from analog to digital by offering internet access over existing cable and telco networks.
Today, the actors are SolarCity, Sunrun and a host of others moving us off fossil fuels and into clean energy supported by smart equipment, services and software, offered atop existing utility networks. This time, it’s the enernet.
Enernet. Noun. A dynamic, distributed, redundant and multi-participant energy network built around clean energy generation, storage and delivery and serving as the foundation for smart cities.
Jigar Shah, founder of SunEdison, seeded the enernet revolution more than a decade ago. He devised a breakthrough financing model that made solar affordable and scalable. He’s the Marc Andreessen of this storyline… seminal, smart and strategic.
Today, watch Elon Musk. He presented new solar roof shingles to the world a few months ago. Solar that’s affordable and attractive. Plus, he’s integrating it into a game-changing home system with storage and EV charging. Think the world’s first iPhone. Musk’s electric car company, Tesla, is poised to be an enernet giant, the Amazon of this go-around — margin-challenged in its early years, but set to move.
It goes well beyond Tesla. There is a long list of enernet innovators now emerging. They are building nanogrids, microgrids, distributed energy resources and virtual power plants. They are creating new, intelligent building materials and smart lighting. They are deploying new networks and intelligence that are driving down costs and improving services.
At heart, the enernet is the foundation for smart-city tech, including the “Internet of Things,” distributed systems, interconnected backbones and networking technologies, EV-charging services and autonomous vehicles, to name a few. These technologies will drive dramatic change and force us to rethink our cities, municipal services and sectors like transportation, insurance, real estate and financial services.
Hold on to your seats. We’re at the early stages of something immense.
Still, I hear the seeds of fear and doubt. There is an oft-cited refrain that the transition will cost a lot and take a long time. That’s absolutely silly. We don’t look back at the internet transformation from analog to digital and think, “Wow, that was slow and cost a ton of money. We should have stuck with the typewriter and landline.” Fact is, it was blazingly fast and driven by those who understood the spend as leveraged investment, not cost center.
Likewise, the move to clean energy will seem fast and prudent as solar and energy storage continue to scale, smart cities accelerate and prices continue their fall.
I also hear “the utilities are in big trouble.” Let’s not be simplistic. Google didn’t kill Comcast. Comcast is doing just fine. The utilities that own transmission and distribution networks (the wires companies) have enormous value and opportunity ahead. There is no way that the transition happens without the participation of these companies, and there is considerable economic upside ahead for them. Forward-thinking utilities — Consolidated Edison, National Grid and others — see what’s coming and are poised to thrive in the enernet world.
Sure, fossil-fuel generators and suppliers have challenges ahead, just like the content companies were challenged by newer, more flexible, cost-effective content producers. It’ll be up to the management teams at these companies to de-risk the future with intelligent investment and acquisitions. Hats off to folks like David Crane, a visionary who worked to drive that transition at NRG Energy. We will see more of that type of leadership again over the next 10 years as market dynamics shift and outcomes become more obvious and urgent to the incumbents.
That said, enernet innovation, like innovation in every other sector, is unlikely to originate from within the incumbents. If you don’t believe me, read books like The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen or this article from Accenture that asserts “corporate innovation does not work.” Unless a Lou Gerstner or Steve Jobs is at the helm of an incumbent, innovation will be acquired, not grown.
This backdrop presents incredible opportunity for startups and early investors in the space. I’m excited to be part of that, and I hope that talented entrepreneurs turn their attention from the app economy to the enernet. There’s enormous upside.
As I said, we’ve seen this movie. Let’s stop acting surprised, and instead start acting. An economic powerhouse awaits the United States. We’ll be thankful we chose to become a worldwide enernet leader, as this evolution creates a new kind of healthy, robust economy.
Our CEO Zamir Shukhov's interview with the SME Innovator magazine about the GVA methodology, acceleration 3.0 and the future of entrepreneurship in Russia.
GVA is recognized as the TOP CHALLENGER according to the UBI Global World rankings of University-linked Business Incubators and Accelerators.
The article on Vedomosti on cooperation between corporations and start-ups. Among examples, there are three GVA's accelerators: Mega Accelerator, PepsiCo LAB and Faberlic FMCG Accelerator.
“Stock investors can’t invest in Uber, but they can invest in Nasdaq-listed Yandex, owner of Russia’s top ride-hailing platform,” writes WSJ reporter Stephen Wilmot, referring to the Yandex.Taxi platform.
The first face-to-face event in the framework of the StartUp Kazakhstan – program orientation took place in innovation cluster of Tech Garden in Almaty on February 1-2. On the first day General Director of the Autonomous cluster Fund "PIT" (Tech Garden) Sanzhar Kettebekov and CEO of Global Venture Alliance Zamir Shukhov addressed to the participants with the introductory speech.
How do the local startup scenes look like in Estonia, Poland, Russia, Ukraine — but also in less known countries, from Bosnia-Herzegovina, to Moldova, to Georgia? How much do VCs invest these countries? Are corporations involved in these emerging ecosystems? Which are the most well-funded startups, and which younger ones should be followed? Why do so many ICOs come from Eastern Europe?
The beginning of this year saw major moves on the Russian eSports scene, a sizable European market with established players operating globally. Thus, last week Mail.Ru Group — an LSE-listed Internet company which controls the largest Russian-language social networks and a range of online gaming companies — announced the full acquisition of ESforce.
GVA’s partner Pavel Luksha, founder Global Education Futures and professor at Moscow School of Management, has a new report out on what graduates should know and be able to do. “Skills of the Future: How to Thrive in the Complex New World” was developed with WorldSkills Russia during sessions of the Atlas of Emerging Jobs project. The report is a thoughtful review of global trends, changes in work and concludes with implications for education. Not a continuation of the present, the authors “believe that mankind should take a serious approach towards the formation of a desired image of the future.”
On January 22 during the official visit of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbaev to the USA the autonomous cluster fund Tech Garden signed a number of important agreements with American companies on the digitization of the economy of Kazakhstan.
At the international GELP Moscow 2017 Summit, which was held in Moscow on 1st to 3rd of November, leaders of Russian and foreign education from 12 states outlined practical steps for systematical change of the global educational environment, taking into account the existing global challenges of civilization.
Global Venture Alliance took part in a closed round table session organized by Forbes Russia.
The authoritative international alliance Global Education Leaders` Partnership (GELP), which influences the development of school education abroad, for the first time, chose Russia as a meeting point for leaders and experts of the world educational community. The official operator of GELP is the Global Venture Alliance.
Global Venture Alliance is the general sponsor of the event on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the magazine Forbes.
The Global Venture Alliance team on October 17 at the international forum "Open Innovations 2017" in Skolkovo organized a closed signing between RZhD, IBM, NES and NCC in the field of transport logistics.
IKEA Centers Russia and GVA have identified 9 start-ups that will go into the MEGA Accelerator business incubator. Theese are Altair VR virtual planetarium, mobile application Save4time, virtual bot MRBot, VR-platform Hexa, interactive game Ligrook, time scheduler Verme, HR-robot Robot Vera, corporate messenger Beesender and IT-service for lawyers Bots & Partners. This was reported to Firrma in IKEA Centres Russia.
Tim Cook has not-so-subtly hinted that Apple is working on some sort of augmented reality product. And while ARKit may be the start, a patent application published today hints at what Apple could be picturing down the road.
Apple has teamed up with Australian-based Cochlear to bring iPhone users the first made for iPhone Cochlear implant.
Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June, Cochlear’s Nucleus 7 Sound Processor can now stream sound directly from a compatible iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to the sound processor.
Google’s London-based AI outfit DeepMind has created two different types of AI that can use their ‘imagination’ to plan ahead and perform tasks with a higher success rate than AIs without imagination. Sorry if I made you click because you wanted AIs predicted flying cars. I promise this is cool too.
Scientists at MIT are using Wi-Fi and AI to determine your emotional state. They’ve created an algorithm that can detect and measure individual heartbeats by bouncing RF signals off of people.