Belief is an important element of business, but the need to back one’s own ideas can be multiplied on foreign soil. Entering a new market, you typically need to undergo a period of learning about the idiosyncrasies of an unknown territory, or at the very least, have trusted representatives who are native to the country in question. One businessman who demonstrated belief that a concept could traverse borders is the Marquess of Milford Haven, more commonly known in business circles as George Milford Haven.
Marquess of Milford Haven, related to British royalty
The Marquess of Milford Haven is a cousin of the Queen and descendent of the iconic Russian monarch, Catherine the Great. He is also one of the major players in the sport of polo. So perhaps not your typical entrepreneur in the energy industry, particularly a website beloved by the ‘man on the street’ for its ability to save money. That website is uSwitch, which was set up to save gas and electricity customers cash by giving them a direct route to switch to a better deal.
Before taking the concept overseas, the Marquess of Milford Haven and his fellow uSwitch founders – including Andrew Salmon, the former PwC financier, and Vipul Amin, known as a figurehead of US industry – had timed their entry into the UK market very well. Deregulation of the energy market had meant that it was now easier than ever for customers to switch providers.
Even so, price comparison websites such as uSwitch were by no means commonplace across the world, meaning the Marquess of Milford Haven still had a lot of work to do in order to adapt the concept.
An idea born on social media
So what was the first in the run of events which led to uSwitch being launched overseas? It involves a LinkedIn message which was sent from Cagada Eroğlu, a Turkish student studying for his post-graduate qualification in London, to the Marquess of Milford Haven and uSwitch.
Putting wheels into motion
After realising that uSwitch was able to save him money on an energy bill which he had received, Eroğlu thought that such a concept might work in his home country, and was eager to put the idea forward to the uSwitch bosses. Eroğlu was well received, and after a meeting, plans were put in place to train him with energy companies around the world, in order to prepare him for the launch of what would become EnCazip Turkey.
So what made the Marquess of Milford Haven so sure that the plan to export the uSwitch formula would work? It seems he spotted a gap in the market; Turkish consumers seemed to be crying out for the same kind of money saving tool which British consumers could take advantage of. This was augmented by the period of deregulation which Turkey was undergoing, giving electricity and gas customers more room for manoeuvre.
The Inside Track
The current Managing Partner of EnCazip Turkey, Onur Orakçıoğlu, provided the following insight when speaking to Tech Inside: “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. 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.”
Where the Marquess of Milford Haven really seems to have played his cards correctly is with the recruitment of native experts such as Orakçıoğlu and Eroğlu, giving him the inside track on the Turkish market, and its consumers’ cultural nuances. By understanding a new business territory with the help of those to whom it is second nature, one can feed the benefit of local knowledge into a business plan.
This was demonstrated further in another venture involving the Marquess of Milford Haven: MoneyGuru in Brazil, which exploited similar conditions in South America to successfully replicate the uSwitch concept once again. After all, if you have a good business idea, why not continue to use it?