is an American venture capitalist and entrepreneur who was born in India in 1955. After completing his formal education, he became involved in the IT industry, with both successes and failures. Khosla Ventures commenced in 2004, and now invests in over 40 GreenTech enterprises.
Vinod is passionate about the opportunities that Cleantech offers to produce massive change in our energy and waste management markets. He is also critical of solutions that are “greenwashing” which are not solutions to the climate crisis, and he says we should be “inventing the future”. See my blog and link to his interview.
Three reasons Vinod is top of my hero list – he sees the problem (our use of coal and oil), he imagines a new future, he takes the business risks.
Shai Agassi, a former software entrepreneur from Israel, is the founder of A Better Place, which is committed to building global transport infrastructure to support the widespread use of electric cars. Shai was inspired to take on this role by the Prime Minister of Israel, who pointed out that “saving the planet” was somewhat more important than running a large IT corporation. His first project is a partnership with Renault and the government of Israel and the challenge is “breaking the world’s fossil-fuel habit ”. Other areas that are targeted for his renewable charging and battery swap networks are Denmark, Eastern Australia and two areas of the USA, California and Hawaii.
Shai Agassi ranks as one of my heroes because he taking leadership and risk. He does not know whether his approach will ultimately be the right one – he moves forward and takes action because he understands we have no time for more debate - it’s time for action. Check out Shai’s vision on TED TALKS.
Allan JonesAn engineer, not a business person, but still makes my top three, because he clearly demonstrates the Power of One. He drove the changes that enabled Woking, UK, a town of 150,000 residents, to reduce its emissions by 77% and produce 80% of its power by 2004. He did this over a three year period by installing off the shelf products in creative ways.
Allan was then appointed to head of the Climate Change Agency in London and was driving change in the way we produce and use energy in several major cities of Planet Earth. Allan is now consulting and speaking to more global cities about how to apply technology that already exists to make large emission reductions. Allan is an inspiration to me, and I look forward to hearing more about his brilliant work.
And my reasons for adding him here – Allan is an energy entrepreneur who is changing the existing systems from within, determined and resourceful and again, passionate about the changes we need to make in our societies.