Migrate: George Chalmers

Name: George Chalmers
Company Name: Migrate
Location: Old Street, London
Date Launched: 01/10/2018
Age: 30
Number of employees: 4
Have you received a Start Up Loan (or other funding)? We raised a friends and family seed round of financing in March 2018.
Website: https://migrate.co.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/migrateenergy
What university (if any) did you attend? Cambridge

Everyone loves a bargain, right? George Chalmers tells Startups all about how he and his dedicated team are transforming the nation's passion for saving into a unique business opportunity with Migrate.

Tell us what your business does:

We built Migrate to automatically save households money on their energy bills without them having to lift a finger. Our technology automatically switches energy providers for our users every year, ensuring they are always on the cheapest deals.

The average household could save over £300 by switching energy providers every year. However, the process isn't always the most straightforward which means most people don't switch. So, we’ve built Migrate to do it for them. For free.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

I used to help my parents and other relatives out with their finances and I always remember how shocked they were when I showed them how much money they can save by switching energy provider. That's when I realised there has to be an easier way, and Migrate was born.

The spirit of helping others has stayed with the company too. For every person that signs-up with us, we give £10 to local projects and causes.

How did you know there was a market for it?

We did a lot of market research, but to be honest I was convinced by just talking to people about it. The more I talk to people about what we have built, the more convinced I am about the market.

When I start to explain Migrate, I'm usually met by a slightly puzzled face while they work out what ‘automatic energy switching' means, but by the end I tend to have a new customer. The market is anyone that doesn’t want to be ripped off and wants an easy life. Fortunately, there are lots of us.

What were you doing before starting up?

I was working in equities at Credit Suisse. It was an interesting career and it taught me a lot about business, but I always knew that I wanted to start my own venture in something that I cared about. Helping people save money, I think, is pretty cool.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

Definitely. I’ve always been thinking about new businesses and ventures and starting my own was always on the agenda. Once I developed the idea for Migrate, I felt it was a no-brainer to take the jump from my comfortable job to really go for it.

How did you raise the money?

We raised our first round of investment from friends, family, and a small group of angel investors.

Describe your business model and how you make money:

We make our money like a traditional price comparison website, which means we take a flat fee from energy providers when we switch someone. However, unlike some price comparison sites we are very transparent about this. Indeed, it’s even on our homepage.

We take a flat fee, and so remain completely impartial, and only ever switch people based on price and their preferences.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

We’ve faced a lot, like most start-ups. Just getting the technology built and working seamlessly with a small team requires a lot of hard work and persistence. But we have a fantastic CTO and a great team and so we got there in the end.

What was your first big breakthrough?

It was a real buzz after our beta-launch when we started signing up our first actual customers and getting great feedback from them. It felt like a big step after months of development, and a real endorsement of what we had been working really hard to build.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Get yourself some good advisors and mentors. There is nothing quite like going out on your own and starting a business, so talk to other people that have done it, and been successful.

Where do you want to be in five years' time?

I want to have completely shaken up the price comparison landscape with Migrate by innovating in cool, new ways that help the consumer.

We definitely have our eyes on different products and verticals and the aim is to establish Migrate as a ‘people's champion' using technology to make people's lives easier.