In September 2000, George Mountbatten founded uSwitch. The company started as a service allowing consumers to compare prices and switch energy providers, after the deregulation of the consumer energy market in the U.K. Today, uSwitch.com is one of the leading price comparison and switching services in the UK. It offers an impartial online and telephone-based service that helps consumers to compare prices on gas, electricity, water, heating cover, home telephone, mobile phone, broadband, digital television, car insurance and personal finance products.
It grew from a business with an initial investment of £4 million to a company that was sold for £210 million in 2006.
¿Who is George Mountbatten?
George Mountbatten, also known as Lord Milford Haven, is a British entrepeneur and current Head of the House of Mountbatten.
He is a direct descendant of Queen Victoria, Catherine the Great (Russian Monarch) and Alexander Pushkin (Russian poet, playwright, and novelist of the Romantic era) and is in the line of succession to the British throne. His official title is The Marquess of Milford Haven. George Mountbatten is an avid polo player. He was 38 year old when he had founded uSwitch.com.
uSwitch Business Model
This company is registered in England and Wales and has its corporate office in London. It is a free online and telephone based service. It does not charge consumers any money but receives commissions from suppliers when consumers decide to switch to them.
In 2007, The Times claimed that uSwitch is one of the two most established price comparison websites. The company claims on its website that between March 1 and May 31 2016, “at least 10% of people who switched energy supplier for both gas & electricity saved £618 or more.” It is offers services to both consumers and businesses.
The company first started comparing prices for gas and electricity tariffs and then expanded into the telecommunications and personal finance sectors. uSwitch initially expanded through acquisitions. It bought competitor buy.co.uk in 2001 and local community website UpMyStreet.com in 2003.
In March 2006, George Mountbatten sold the company for £210 million to US media conglomerate E.W. Scripps Company, a company founded in 1878 that specializes in newspapers, television stations, and radio stations.
In December 2009, uSwitch was sold again, but this time, for £10.3 million to Forward Internet Group, a privately funded collective of internet based businesses dedicated to innovation and consumer engagement.
In August 2013, a private equity firm Lloyds Development Capital, LDC, backed a management buyout of the firm. In August 2015, the company was sold to Zoopla, a British property website focused on the property market, for £160 million. Zoopla is listed in the London Stock Exchange and is part of the FTSE 250 Index. It provides property and comparison search websites and has revenues of £197.7 million (2016) and a net income of £36.7 million (2016).
It seems that now George Mountbatten’s creation is in a sweet spot and is now managed by a British company that is experienced in the internet.
Zoopla was created in 2007 and also grew by acquisition. In July 2009, Zoopla bought Thinkproperty.com. In August 2009, it acquired PropertyFinderGroup.
In January 2011, it bought historic database of UK house prices HousePrices.co.uk. In 2011, Zoopla merged with Digital Property Group adding Primelocation.com, Globix.com and FindaProperty.com to its portfolio. Interestingly, In May 2012, Zoopla acquired UpMyStreet.com, the same company George Mountbatten and his company had bought in 2003.