Hayden Wood and Amit Gudka: Bulb
The UK’s fastest-growing energy supplier, Bulb offers simple tariffs and treats its customers as members of a giant environmentally friendly community
Hayden Wood, 35 and Amit Gudka, 34
Founded in 2015, Bulb attests to being the fastest-growing energy supplier in the UK. It is in the vanguard of a band of bold young suppliers who have shaken up Britain’s £54bn energy market, and is already approaching half a million members in just three years.
Co-founders Hayden Wood and Amit Gudka want to offer an alternative to what they call the “dirty, expensive tariffs” of the Big Six.
Their vision is framed by the negative experiences they took from their previous jobs; Wood provided management consultancy to large energy suppliers, while Gudka traded energy at Barclays.
They felt the established energy companies were guilty of shoddy customer service, and charged customers far too much for their renewables. So they set about building a new kind of business, which would demystify energy tariffs and place customer service at its core.
Bulb derives all of its electricity, and 10% of its gas, from renewable sources, but the company does not pass ridiculous premiums onto its customers. Instead, it harnesses innovative technologies to keep prices down. In fact the company says it is 20% cheaper than the standard Big Six plan.
The homes and businesses that sign up to Bulb are described not as customers but as members, part of a mass movement dedicated to “greening up the grid” as the founders put it. They all receive the same flat energy tariff, and bills are delivered by email in clear, jargon-free language.
This strategy is clearly working. A record 5.5 million customers switched electricity provider in 2017, and Bulb has been one of the main beneficiaries of this new-found willingness to dump the Big Six. Last August the company had 100,000 members; within six months the figure had increased to 300,000, and the growth parabola has shown no sign of dipping: today, it has 780,000 members…
This development is even more impressive given Bulb has relied on word of mouth and social media. It also runs a referral programme, which gives both parties £50 whenever an existing member refers a new one. The Bulb website attempts to foster a sense of community, profiling high-profile members in its ‘Bulb heroes’ section.
Wood and Gudka insist they’re not do-gooders; they simply want to do “what makes sense for our environment and future generations.” Nonetheless the company has won acclaim for its strategy.
Independent website Trustpilot has consistently ranked Bulb its number one energy supplier, and USwitch gives an unequivocal five-star rating.
Now the founders are eyeing a fresh capital raise “that’s even simpler, cheaper and greener” than before.
They recently introduced a prepay programme as well as feed-in tariffs, which will allow the company to purchase energy from homeowners with solar panels. Installation of second-generation smart meters begins this autumn, and a dedicated innovation team, Bulb Labs, is exploring further ventures.