Business

How the consumer revolution spreads east

George Mountbatten and uSwitch

We live in a world so rich in diversity, encompassing many different cultures, languages and traditions. But one thing we all have in common, no matter the nationality, is the necessity of knowing that what we are paying for a service is fair. Nobody likes to know that they are paying more that they should. It seems slightly obvious, but nowadays, with so many different options to choose from out there, and the small print that accompanies the sparkling promotions, choosing what fits your needs at the best price, can become a real challenge.

So, uSwitch.com seemed to be created on a win-win business formula – a service that made money by saving people money.

That was George Mountbatten and his fellow investors’ foundation idea when they started uSwitch.com. It was a British price comparison website founded in the years which followed the dot com boom post-2000, and after the deregulation of the electric market in the United Kingdom. uSwitch rose at a rapid rate to become a notable part of the UK’s consumer landscape. The concept behind uSwitch was to allow British gas and electricity customers to save money on their bills, by switching providers with the greatest of ease.

It’s all in the image

It wasn’t just the functionality of uSwitch which made such an impression on the UK market. Allowing visitors to fish around for the best price on their energy supplier, before deciding whether to switch or not. Also, the look and feel of the site was different to what had come prior to it, and there was an apparent desire to remain impartial at all costs.

The site grew at a steady rate, and by 2006, it was the prize asset in the UK energy price comparison market. This allowed uSwitch to make a great strategic move and sell the site for £210 million to the US media organisation, EW Scripps. But anyone thinking that the sale represented the end of the price comparison journey for George Mountbatten and his fellow founders were mistaken.

The ‘uSwitch of Turkey’

While uSwitch was in new hands, there was to be another chapter for George Mountbatten and his group. Soon, attention would be focused towards the Turkish energy market as the next battle ground in the consumer revolution. And there is an intriguing story behind formation of EnCazip Turkey – the price comparison provider which replicated elements of George Mountbatten’s former site.

From LinkedIn message to market leaders

The Turkish entrepreneur that embraced the new project was Cagada Eroğlu. He was a post graduate student in London at the time, and like every student he tried to save money where he could.

Having learned that he could actually save money thanks to the uSwitch concept, Eroğlu had a brainwave. He could take this winning price comparison formula back to his homeland, and apply it to the Turkish energy market recently deregulated.

Eroğlu promptly fired off a LinkedIn message to George Mountbatten, and a partnership was born. Over the coming years, George Mountbatten would be central to the training programme which was set up for Eroğlu and other EnCazip Turkey originals.

The time was right

The Turkish market around the launch of EnCazip Turkey could be seen as similar to that of the uSwitch in UK around 2000. De-regulation had opened doors, and presented the company with an opportunity to introduce the price comparison concept onto the Turkish market.

Managing Partner Onur Orakçıoğlu told the Tech Inside platform: “We aim not only to find the cheapest electricity tariff for consumers, but also to ensure that the competition in the sector develops for the consumer.” He also said “We do this in a sense by increasing competition. It should not be forgotten that when prices are falling on competitive markets, service quality is rising as well.”

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