A new category of VC investment seems to be gaining some momentum and joins the list of some of the ones that were hot in the recent past, like Web 2.0, mobile media, social networking and big data. It is called the CleanWeb, according to The Cleantech Blog.
The article provides a good overview of this category of innovation and technology, with several references to recent articles to back up the report. Cleanweb is at the intersection of IT and cleantech, or energy efficiency and computing. This GigaOm article provides a list of the types of business models that fall under CleanWeb.
The graphic above from cleanwebhack.com shows Cleanweb themes or types of business models. Very often the business model is that of a software or web services that directly or tangentially result in lower consumption of energy, and correspondingly lower emissions. There is also a good presentation on the topic on Slideshare, which says that 18% of cleantech investments fall into that category.
As an example of the degree of innovation possible, the article makes a comparison between the current most powerful computer (the 10.5 petaflop Fujitsu K), which consumes the equivalent of a small town’s worth of power, but a similarly capable machine two decades from now would probably only consume as much electricity as a standard household toaster.
The expert quoted says that if the reader doubts that this degree of improvement can be achieved in 20 years, then consider that the MacBook Air — if operated at the efficiency of 1991 computers — would fully discharge its battery in merely 2.5 seconds.