Bill Gates goes Green Finally, podcast and investment in Khosla Ventures

For past 3 years I’ve talked with a variety of people at Microsoft and the Gates Foundation about Bill’s interest in the environment and Green.  The resounding past answers has been “the environment is not on Bill’s priority list.

I was skeptical when Bill launched his podcasts on Energy and Climate Change.  Listening to them I didn’t hear anything really mind blowing.

What’s been on my mind lately

Podcast Series: Energy and Climate Change

Posted 01/20/2010
Finding carbon-free energy sources that will provide affordable power for people around the globe is a complex and difficult issue. Bill shares his thoughts on the challenges of developing alternatives to fossil fuels.

In this series of podcasts, Bill talks about why we need to develop new sources of energy that provide power without generating CO2. Among the topics he covers are the challenges with potential solutions such as carbon capture and sequestration, nuclear, wind, and solar; and why he believes the U.S. government should increase its funding for basic research in energy.
To download the podcast as a .wma file for Windows Media Player, click below.
1. Alternative energy Part 1
2. Alternative energy Part 2
3. Government’s role
4. Learning about energy

Click below to download this podcast series as an mp3.
1. Alternative energy Part 1
2. Alternative energy Part 2
3. Government’s role
4. Learning about energy

But, today cnet news reports an Bill’s investment in Vinod Khosla green-tech firm.  Now that Bill has put his money in and he is hanging out with Vinod, I tihnk we can expect some big changes coming from Bill and the Gates Foundation.

Bill Gates investing in Vinod Khosla green-tech fund

by Martin LaMonica

Bill Gates, whose philanthropy is aimed at improving the lives of people in poor countries, is also taking a interest in clean energy, both intellectually and financially.

In an interview published Sunday, Gates said he has invested in Vinod Khosla's green-technology fund, which is aimed at incubating breakthrough technologies.

"He is backing some great entrepreneurs. I get some exposure to them as part of that. Innovation is called for in a big way," Gates said.

If you are not familiar with Khosla Ventures here is their site. I found Xsigo and Seamicro through his site.


Khosla Ventures has an interesting philosophy on what they can care about.

the things we care about

Making a difference is a core value of khosla ventures and we have pledged some of any investment proceeds to achieving this difference. In particular, Vinod will donate 100% of his general partner profit from khosla ventures to these and other similar causes. Some of our "social impact" interests also make for great businesses, such as alternative energy, or can at least be viable businesses ("no loss" self sustaining businesses that don't need continued outside support, they are impact maximizers instead of being profit maximizers) even if profit is not the primary goal, such as microfinance and affordable housing.

Some of the organizations we support are below. Some of these are traditional non-profit efforts. Others are "for profit" organizations. When we "invest" in ventures with these partners, we will put the equity in a non-profit trust to achieve social impact

  • Microfinance - SKS, SHARE, ASA, CFTS, Jamii Bora Grameen USA, Unitus - with a goal to provide credit to over 25 million "below poverty line" borrowers. See also An Anti-Poverty Success Story; Video

  • Environment - GE Ecomagination Advisory Council, Chairman of India Advisory Board of the Cleantech Network

  • Education - Indian School of Business - a world class school of business, - teachers ask for private funding on thousands of projects

  • Health - Public Health Institutes of India, UNICEF

  • ...others including eBay Giving Works - a marketplace for compassionate commerce supporting 9,000 charities

Also, just found this list of Green Papers from Kholsa Ventures.  More for my reading list.  :-)

White Papers