Eclipse Ventures Launches Framework to Quantify Climate Impact Potential for Technologies Disrupting Physical Industries

Eclipse Ventures is a VC firm based in Palo Alto, CA. Their goal here is to provide venture investors with information on the carbon reduction potential of different technologies for physical industries. It actually goes further to identify a few companies working on each sort of technology. For investors, it gives a tool to estimate the market for a technology and an indication of how a startup might perform.

It does so using an open platform called CRANE, which they claim will soon be open-source. CRANE was developed by Prime Coalition, a climate non-profit, and Rho Impact, a climate advisory service.

The idea of such a tool is to encourage investors to back firms that will genuinely reduce carbon impact. Time will tell if people will use the tool, and also how accurate its prognostication is.

I am usually quite skeptical of ‘black-box’ predictors and analytical tools. It’s important to understand how they are actually doing the computations.

However, physical industries are major contributors to carbon pollution, and offer a tremendous opportunity for carbon reduction. Any way we measure it, reducing carbon output in those industries is a priority. Clearly identifying startups that could make an impact in those physical areas would be good.

We can couple that with the fact that physical industry startups have different requirements from software and artificial intelligence startups. They need substantial early funding, because their physical solutions require a test bed. And they need to be located near the physical processes they are trying to improve, rather than in some incubator or accelerator near the money sources.

Physical products from the start need to deal with serviceability. The ability to service the product must be designed in from the start. Products that fail to be serviceable will never be selected by operations people.

Software, on the other hand, follows a development path using a minimum viable product, which meets some customer needs, but not others. Software developers today rely on feedback from users to make the product more serviceable. Early adopters provide that input and drive the serviceability trajectory. And the engineers, or a few added customer engineers, can provide the support. As more and more users appear, they need more and more help and place larger demands on the software firm. Eventually, if a software firm is successful, the service of existing customers becomes much more important and more costly than new development. This trajectory has played out so often in the software industry as to be a cliche.

But the big jump in software service expense most often occurs long after the firm has exited the VC or early funding stages, either through an IPO or private placement or through sale to a large company. Early investors no longer have responsibility for the financing. So the venture investors don’t care.

This phenomenon explains why software ventures get funded more easily than physical product ventures.

I’m glad to see someone trying to make the case for physical industry investment, especially for sustainability and carbon intensity.

Full report: https://eclipse.vc/eco-report/

NEWS PROVIDED BY Eclipse Ventures 

Aug 10, 2022, 09:00 ET

Eclipse Ventures Launches Framework to Quantify Climate Impact Potential for Technologies Disrupting Physical Industries

As DCSA and shippers work to develop eBL standards, forwarders remain wary

This article gives both sides of a discussion on the importance and readiness of the maritime and shipping industries for an electronic bill of lading.

One point made in the article by forwarders is that in the present market, changes are occurring so frequently that the bills of lading have to change frequently. The changes are happening because the congestion and resilience or lack of it currently in many supply chains is forcing frequent revisions of transport plans. That forces eBL revision, since the exactness of the details of transport is essential in building a valid eBL.

But it’s always been the case that digitalization or automation requires a change in the manual or human procedures surrounding the creation of information. Those who are naysayers need to face up to the fact that a ‘draft’ eBL needs to become the standard of creation of an order for transport. That’s true if you’re a carrier, a shipper, a forwarder, ora 3PL.

It means that every system for booking shipments needs to transition to use of the eBL as THE document defining the offer. No participant will be able to afford to have their own forms for creating or ordering a shipment. That is going to be a challenge for the myriad systems brokers and shippers use. Each of them must be forced to include the eBL structure in their system, and make it the ONLY way orders are drafted and contracted for.

That’s not quite as bad as it seems. Once the system has the ability to draft the eBL for a shipment, many of them can be prepared in advance. For instance for a customer that regularly books shipments of specific goods, the eBL can be prepared in advance as a draft, and only needs human and system interaction for approval. We know from many years of practice implementing systems that draft information can be tuned by the computer to match most of the required patterns for most shipments, so

Brokers who are concerned about constant churning of eBL information can take heart; using pre-prepared standard eBLs will eliminate 80% of the job or so; the exceptions are a lot fewer than they think.

What that also means, however, is the job of booking an order changes. The customer service agent has a lot less paperwork to do, and that may in her view reduce her ‘importance’ to the shipper and the process. They lose status and the opportunity they had in the past to influence and relate to the shipper. That might be their fear.

However, they should not fear. It’s well understood from previous system implementations in many areas from payrolls to HR to ERP and many more areas, for at least 4 decades. The job changes, and opens up many more opportunities for sales reps to be of actual use to their clients by removing the burden of paperwork. And the change is from a repetitive operation to an exception handling process.

Shipping sales rep may well become a job that requires a different type of person from the incumbents; but that should not be a reason to avoid doing it. It means retraining incumbents or encouraging them to move on to a job they are more comfortable in.

The eBL standard development and acceptance process will be key over the next few years. The faster it can happen, the better.

By Charlie Bartlett 04/08/2022

As DCSA and shippers work to develop eBL standards, forwarders remain wary – The Loadstar

Seven key takeaways about economic mobility

Brookings has a great article about new research on economic mobility (preferably upward) and friends. If people tend to be willing to make friends across economic classes it’s a big boost to chances of economic mobility.

One great thing is the links to interactive maps showing what drives social capital. You can see them here.

Richard V. Reeves and Coura Fall Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Seven key takeaways from Chetty’s new research on friendship and economic mobility