O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures Invests in Amee

I’m pleased to announce that on Wednesday, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, our VC affiliate, closed an investment in UK-based Amee, which bills itself as “the world’s energy meter.” Here’s their description of what they do:

AMEE’s aim is to map, measure and track all the energy data on Earth. This includes aggregating every emission factor and methodology related to CO2 and Energy Assessments (individuals, businesses, buildings, products, supply chains, countries, etc.), and all the consumption data (fuel, water, waste, quantitative and qualitative factors).

It is a web-service (API) that combines measurement, calculation, profiling and transactional systems. Its algorithmic engine applies conversion factors from energy into CO2 emissions, and represents data from 150 countries.

AMEE aids the development of businesses and other initiatives – by providing common benchmarks for measurement, tracking, conversion, collaboration and reporting.

If you’ve been following my talks in which I urge software developers and entrepreneurs to “work on stuff that matters,” you know that I consider getting a handle on carbon accounting is the first step in putting a stop to global warming. (If you’re a warming skeptic, I consider global warming as a modern example of Pascal’s wager: if we’re wrong, and global warming is not human caused, the steps we’ll take to address it are still worthwhile. We get off foreign oil, improve our energy security, build new industries, improve the environment.)

Even apart from the contribution to a critical world issue, Amee is interesting because it shows that the future of web services will involve a much broader range of data services than most people imagine. I’ve long argued that the subsystems of the emerging internet operating system are data subsystems. Some of those, like location and identity, are obvious, and thus hotly contested. Others, like carbon data, are sorely needed, and not yet built out. There’s huge opportunity in finding and populating key databases, and then turning them into ubiquitous web services.

By the way, if you use dopplr, you’ve already seen Amee at work: it provides the data for dopplr’s carbon calculator tab.

Union Square Ventures is also an investor in this round. Partner Albert Wenger gives his take on the investment on their blog.

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  • http://basiscraft.com Thomas Lord

    Great quote from the Simpson’s: “Did you ever walk by a burning house and think, how can I benefit from this….” — Lionel Hutz, Attorney at Law.

    -t

  • Global Warming Skeptic

    I wouldn’t mind you being wrong and taking the measures to decrease pollution, although I have my doubts on how much CO2 is a pollutant, if the policies environmentalists wanted implemented didn’t mean the economy taking a hit with massive job losses and loss of wealth in the amount of trillions of dollars. And we all know what no money means; environmentalists lose funding for research to save the planet. People think things are bad now? Watch what would happen to the world if environmentalists ran the world. We would eventually all have to off ourselves, because it is not possible for us to exist without altering the planet in some unnatural way in order to survive.

    Call me a cynic if you want, but I do not believe these scientists are interested in the least in saving the planet. If they really were they would be researching for ways to keep the Earth’s core from cooling someday. Let’s face it. Once that core cools down and we lose our magnetic field, which will result in the atmosphere disappearing, no life, human or otherwise, is going to be able to survive. So, it is obvious that these guys really need to start putting their time into something worthwhile.

  • http://tim.oreilly.com Tim O'Reilly

    Global Warming Skeptic -

    I’m skeptical too — about the claim that working to reduce global warming will have negative environmental impact. It will definitely have negative impact on oil companies, utilities, auto companies, agribusiness, and others who profit from the status quo. But it will have huge positive impact on technology companies, innovative power companies, local businesses, and the like.

    You’re here on the net, and I bet that despite “its huge negative economic impact” as cited by music companies, you listen to digital music. Why do you accept this kind of change in your personal life as beneficial, while seeing positive disruption in energy industries as a drain. In each case, it’s the incumbents talking.

    If even the insurance companies are starting to realize that the costs of inaction are greater than the costs of action (see for example http://money.cnn.com/2006/08/22/news/economy/pluggedin_gunther.fortune/ ), you have to wonder who is saying that combating global warming is bad for the economy.

    Meanwhile, consider the geopolitical problems we face because we no longer have our own oil, and are dependent on Russia, Venezuela and the middle east for a commodity that we MUST have, or see our economy die. It’s pretty short-sighted NOT to invest in alternative energy, no matter what you believe about global warming.

  • http://sethop.com Seth Wagoner

    Tim, I presume you meant to say “negative _economic_ Impact” – and I agree – so often these global warming skeptics seem to have little trouble believing that 99% of the world’s scientists are involved in some great big conspiracy/cover-up (…to do what exactly? Elect a Democrat who will fund their evil “science projects” better? Sorry guys, that ship has sailed…) but have a great deal of trouble accepting that *just maybe* the world’s largest carbon polluting companies, whose profits *depend* on the lack of proper carbon accountability, might just have an agenda of their own when they fund both the “rouge” scientists who dare to break with the global consensus, and also the think tanks who claim that establishing a carbon trading scheme will cause a calamitous drop in economic growth? And that the people who work for those dollars might know exactly what the big polluting companies want them to say?

    Congrats to AMEE, OATV, and the other investors, this is indeed “stuff that matters”.

  • Falafulu Fisi

    I am skeptical too but mine is based on:

    - information that I read from recent peer review scientific publications which question the man made global warming (yes, I can quote these papers if one is interested).

    - my understanding of numerical modeling (its advantages & its shortfall), since the stuff I do are the same numerical techniques used in the IPCC report.

    If global warming is going to be catastrophic as proponents are saying and if it turned out that it is not man made, then it is obvious that we can’t do a damn thing about it. At least we can all party like its 1999 and wait for the end of the world to arrive.

  • http://www.pvmonitor.net solarMD

    Your investment into dopplr says you are putting money where you speak. I see web 2.0 also has viability in the areas of more practical, or ‘productive’ application.

    This is a bit about applying web 2.0’s power in the area of knowledge building, toward advancing the practice of photovoltaics. After seeing many solar (PV) sites under-perform and un-noticed, we are trying to do something about it, leveraging the web technology.

    I like to hear from thinkers and doers in the field of heuristics, artificial intelligence, and physical sciences on my proposition.

    I believe the power of the web can be leveraged to
    advance the practice of engineered systems like that of a solar
    power plant. We are at a formulating stage of building a collaborative platform; for a virtual team to brain-storm in an
    asynchronous fashion, to build knowledge and devising solution
    for detecting ‘under-performance’ in a system, then to diagnose
    the cause of this ‘under-performance’ and notify the person responsible, to rapidly restore it back to normal operation of such a power plant. This platform currently has Drupal, Joomla, and Mediawiki components being adapted for trial use. Everyone is invited to visit http://www.photovoltaicwell.com/drupal, or
    /joomla, or /mediawiki and participate.

    Looking forward to hearing from you all.

    solarMD