Greg Jackson, Octopus Energy chief executive, says the market is ready for an Amazon- or Uber-style disruptor, but his version would also fuel the green revolution in the UK.
The low-key jeans and sneakers combination you would expect from the founder of a popular startup is worn by Greg Jackson, chief executive of Octopus Energy. In addition, a large open-plan office in central London, a laid-back attitude to workers and plenty of services. He also has the passion and idealism that changed the world. It’s easy to forget that Octopus is an energy firm with all these characteristics of a tech unicorn – a contract with Tokyo Gas last month priced the company at $2 billion (£1.5 billion) -. Jackson, 49, says differentiation is becoming more and more meaningless. Based on cutting-edge technology and unencumbered by the creaky billing systems and fossil-fuel power plants that haunt the “big six.” of the UK, Octopus is a new form of energy supplier.
Established just five years ago, Octopus was able to look at the energy industry as if it were a tech start-up: ready for disruption. That has made Octopus the fastest-growing energy supplier in the UK and helped it close the Japanese deal that will see it supply energy to households in Japan, while Tokyo Gas is taking a stake in Octopus of almost 10 percent. Many people asked us when we started the business how we were going to take on the big six. They looked like major businesses.
But they’re not that large on a global scale,’ Jackson said in an interview shortly before the Tokyo Gas deal was revealed. Octopus Energy is funded by the Octopus Group investment company and has more than a million British energy customers.
But the vision of Jackson goes far beyond the UK.
The serial tech entrepreneur (and former coffee shop owner) predicts that Octopus Energy will hit 100 million homes as the first domestic energy provider.
“And within a few years, he plans to reach that ambitious milestone. “Looking downhill, we have come a long way and can be incredibly proud,” says Jackson, whose stake in Octopus is now worth £ 115 million. “Yet as we power more of our transport and heating, the global energy market is worth around $ 2 trillion a year and will rise to $ 4 billion. That means our share of the worldwide market is around 0.2 percent. We’ve always got to go a long way. “From wind turbines to homes, the energy industry ran on systems that were two decades oldGreg JacksonAt the heart of this ambition is Octopus’ energy software, now known as Kraken. “We knew a lot about technology when we began,” Jackson says. “We didn’t know much about energy, but we could see that there was no digital revolution in the industry yet. They worked on structures that were two decades old, from wind turbines to homes. “To satisfy fluctuating demand, fossil fuel plants are turned on and off.
But consumers will become active participants in the energy market in a world where inexpensive and plentiful green energy charges millions of batteries in homes and vehicles. Octopus made headlines earlier this year by paying its customers to use electricity when Britain’s renewable energy hit record highs.
It is an example of a potential hi-tech energy system that empowers people. Jackson says, “Electricity is becoming a tech industry.” Kraken’s “elec-tech” software will allow a new way of using energy and underpin the green industrial revolution in Britain. “When a customer comes home and plugs their electric car,” he says, “When electricity is cheap, Kraken will automatically charge and sell energy.”
This could be applied to whole communities in the future: neighborhoods full of batteries that function secretly as virtual power plants. The foundation of the green industrial revolution may be this.
Yet we need to inspire people when they’re available to make the most of ‘green electrons’. That’s what Kraken does.” There are already 17 million customers linked to Kraken software.”
British utilities such as E.ON and Good Energy use it for their own firms, and in Germany and the United States there are Octopus Energy outposts. The company struck an agreement earlier this year with Origin, Australia’s largest energy provider, which agreed to