2006 was an important year for British commerce, arguably marking a turning point in the value placed on online enterprises. Previously viewed as slightly inferior to more traditional business models, the sale of energy comparison giant uSwitch.com proved once and for all that attitudes were changing.
It came as no surprise that such a view was becoming more flexible, yet suddenly, the industry had indefatigable proof of just how much everything was altering. This evidence came from American media firm EW Scripps, who paid a record sum to add the energy comparison site to their portfolio, handing over £210 million to finalise the sale.
Aside from peer and founder Lord Milford Haven, there were nine other shareholders who reaped massive financial profits from this handover, and one of these was the entrepreneurial businessman Vip Amin.
The role of Vip Amin
A key member of the expert management team that had contributed to the development of uSwitch.com in the six years since its founding, Vip Amin was a notable name in his own right. Having enjoyed a large amount of earlier business success, he had been involved in the company since its creation in 2000 and had been largely responsible for building it up into the phenomenally profitable enterprise it became.
Helping to take it from the first energy supplier comparison site in the UK to a company with a 42 percent market share in a thriving industry, Vip Amin had been there at the venture’s inception. It was he, together with two of his business associates, who had noted the impact that market deregulation was having, and the opportunity that was opening up for an online platform that could provide a much-needed comparison tool for consumers.
Working in collaboration with founder George Milford Haven and company CEO Andrew Salmon, Vip Amin began to develop a truly innovative business model, one that would grow into the leading energy price comparison site in the UK – uSwitch.com.
Taking advantage of the newly deregulated energy market
The idea that was born capitalised on two important factors that would support its success: the ever-increasing speed of broadband in UK homes, and the rapidly growing number of internet users, all beginning to realise what an important tool the World Wide Web could be in their search for information.
Their move into the energy market was made at the most opportune of times. As prices rapidly rose in response to deregulation, consumers became ever more frustrated with the increasingly unappealing deals they were being offered and started to consider looking elsewhere for their supply needs.
When they did, they found a fantastic tool to help: a straightforward platform that enabled them to compare price plans – uSwitch.com. Set up to benefit consumers rather than suppliers, it was entirely free for them to use and gave them more power than ever before to choose an energy supplier that offered lower tariffs.
uSwitch was soon able to expand into other areas, such as credit cards, loans, and telephony. This success attracted the attention of multiple interested parties so that when the company was placed on the market in 2006.
It was media firm EW Scripps who would finally make the winning offer, handing over £210 million in return for ownership of the company. Vip Amin was amongst those who received the greatest financial reward for his contribution.
It was a reward that had been well earned, for without the immensely talented triumvirate of Lord Milford Haven, Andrew Salmon, and Vipul amin , the company might never have been born, let alone have enjoyed such fantastic successes.