uSwitch and Andrew Salmon: a success story
When internet start-up uSwitch was sold to US media corporation EW Scripps in 2006, it represented a major success for all of those working at the company, and particularly for the company’s CEO at the time, Andrew Salmon. Under Andrew Salmon’s leadership, in the space of just six years, uSwitch went from an upstart internet brand to the UK’s foremost energy price comparison company, valued at £210 million.
The story of uSwitch
Internet businesses were still in their infancy in 2000 when uSwitch was launched, and at the age of 30, Andrew Salmon himself was a comparatively young executive in the energy industry. But despite his young age, he had already gained a senior position at leading energy business EDF, and it was there, while researching new, more innovative sales alternatives to cold calling, that he developed the idea that was to become uSwitch.
He joined forces with fellow business leader, George Milford Haven, to target what both of them could see was a gap in the market. Andrew Salmon saw a way to bring consumers an impartial advice service that would enable them to meaningfully compare all of the existing price tariffs to help them choose the tariffs that were best for them. In building such a service, Andrew Salmon also realised that he would be creating a more effective method for energy companies to sell their services and products.
At its launch, uSwitch was built around a bespoke price comparison model, which was able to bring together a number of factors including tariff level, location, type of service offered and available payment methods to provide consumers with the best possible energy deal.
Although uSwitch’s business model appeared sound, it was still a small start-up – built and run by a small team of just seven people. To get attention and to grow to its full potential, the company depended on Andrew Salmon’s networking skills. Through his contacts in the energy industry and elsewhere, he was able to persuade a number of top businesses to engage with uSwitch, which enabled the company to grow quickly, and by 2006, it was firmly positioned as the leading energy price comparison site in the UK.
The secret to Andrew Salmon’s success
Having a great idea for a start-up is only one part of the puzzle. To turn a business idea into a successful reality takes strategic vision as well as financial and economic expertise. With a BA in Economics and an MA in Finance and Investment, Andrew Salmon had a solid business grounding, while his experience as a corporate finance manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers, and the insight he gained through working at Ofgem and EDF equipped him with the industry knowledge and strategic vision to succeed.
Biggest internet deal
The company, which began as a small start-up, grew so quickly that in 2006, it was sold to US media giant EW Scripps for an estimated £210 million. At the time, this price was the largest internet deal recorded in the UK, eclipsing the £175 million purchase of Friends Reunited by ITV. The sale, secured largely through the efforts of Andrew Salmon, secured the company’s position at the top of the UK market, though Mr Salmon remained as CEO until 2008.
It started out as a small but innovative company designed to help consumers compare energy provider prices, but today uSwitch.com has grown into one of the UK’s leading price comparison sites. Offering independent advice and analysis, through both online and telephone services, it has helped millions of UK consumers to compare prices on a wide range of services and companies, from gas and water to car insurance, mobile phone and broadband services and stands as a testament to the strategic vision of Andrew Salmon.