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Meet one of the 15 Climate Tech Companies to Watch in the World - and it’s in South Florida
Building Blue Frontier: Disrupting A/C with Climate Tech in South Florida
Our next conversation in our ongoing series Conversations on our Future will feature Daniel Betts of Blue Frontier. Join us on Nov. 15th by registering here.
I had the privilege of working with Alberto Ibargüen twice, first at The Miami Herald and then Knight Foundation. The former Miami Herald publisher and current Knight Foundation CEO would often say that three tipping points played critical roles in creating modern Miami.
One, jet propulsion that made Miami easily reachable from cities as far-flung as Boston and Bogota. Two, the mass migration from Cuba that reoriented the city to the entire hemisphere. And, three, air conditioning that allowed Miami to become a year-round city.
“The three have nothing to do with each other, but their convergence made the city what it is today,” Ibargüen says in Alejandro Portes’ book, “Emerging Global Cities.”
It’s perhaps fitting, then, that South Florida is the place where the next innovation in sustainable air conditioning is being built. The aim is nothing less than transforming how we cool the places we live and work - while doing it in a manner that doesn’t contribute to the warming of the planet.
For the next conversation in our Opportunity Miami series, Conversations on our Future, we’ll sit down with Blue Frontier CEO and Co-Founder Daniel Betts to discuss how he has been able to disrupt the air conditioning industry while creating a climate tech startup in South Florida that is getting global attention. You can register here for the event.
SOUTH FLORIDA’S GENERATIONAL BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY
It’s not an overstatement to say that Blue Frontier is winning widespread attention. Earlier this month MIT Technology Review recently named Blue Frontier one of the 15 climate tech companies to watch in the world. Last year a group of the world’s top climate tech venture capital firms - including Bill Gates’s Breakthrough Energy Ventures, 2150 VC in London, and VoLo Earth Ventures - invested $20 million into Blue Frontier. We hosted leaders from all three firms at an Opportunity Miami x World Climate Tech Summit event earlier this year.
Sustainably cooling the places we live and work is a key part of the transition to a net zero economy - that is, transitioning to an economy that puts no more climate-warming gasses into the air than it takes out.
In his book, “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” Bill Gates said the net zero transition can be divided up into five parts of the economy. One, how we get around; two, how we build things; three, where we get our power from; four, how we produce food; and, five, how we cool and heat the dwellings that we live and work in.
Since launching Opportunity Miami nearly two years ago we’ve argued that Miami can - and should - be a leader in this transition (you can read our first two posts here and here). Indeed, the effort to decarbonize our economy presents the business opportunity of our lifetime.
South Florida companies are making inroads in each area. Examples include Blink, which is aiming to build one of the leading electric vehicle car charging networks in the U.S. Carbon Limit is developing cement technology that actively captures CO2 and stores it. LenX, the venture arm of home builder Lennar, is investing in companies 3D printing homes and decarbonizing cement. Atlantic Sapphire built the largest indoor aquaculture facility in the world to harvest salmon.
Blue Frontier is aiming to transform an air conditioning industry that, according to Betts, uses technology “that is basically the same as the conventional air conditioning technology that was invented over 100 years ago.”
“It’s ripe for a disruptive change to come about,” added Betts, who was featured in a previous Opportunity Miami On Site, our video series on entrepreneurs solving problems critical to Miami’s future. You can watch it here.
The possibility for impact is significant. In total, the built environment accounts for about a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions around the world.
Blue Frontier is building an AC system that reduces electricity use by up to ninety percent. It’s a system that can store energy so that energy can be used during times of the day when electricity is more costly. It’s also exceedingly quiet, unlike existing AC units.
At the outset, Blue Frontier is focusing on putting its hyper-efficient air conditioning in large commercial buildings.
“Blue Frontier is revolutionizing air conditioning,” said Betts, “and, in doing so, we’re addressing the most important blind spot in the building technology space, and utility space, to arrive at carbon emission goals in the next 30 years.”
We hope you’ll join us on Nov. 15 for this conversation with Betts on this vitally important innovation now being built in South Florida.
In the first of our Conversations on our Future events we had Reshma Sohoni, Founder of Seedcamp, who talked about how she built one of the most successful early-stage venture funds in Europe, why she moved to Miami, and the critical need for any ecosystem to focus on the builders – and invest in their ideas. You can watch that conversation, in full, here.
CLIMATE TECH MEETUP
South Florida got great news last week that it was one of the 31 regions across the U.S. designated by the Department of Commerce as a tech hub. In particular, as a Climate Resilience Tech Hub. We will be discussing the designation and what comes next at our Opportunity Miami x Miami-Dade County Climate Tech Meetup this coming Friday, Nov 3. You can register here to join us for that discussion.
Opportunity Miami is a platform for people passionate about Miami’s future. As always, we would love to hear from you. If you have a company or entrepreneur to suggest or an idea to share that relates to building Miami’s future, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We invite you to subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch our Interview and On Site video series featuring leaders shaping Miami's future. Please also follow us on our social media channels. If you were forwarded this newsletter, you can subscribe by clicking here. And if you are new to Opportunity Miami, you can learn about our mission and work here.
Next week is the Miami-Dade Beacon Council’s Annual Meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 9. You can purchase tickets for the event here.