There may be several thousand miles between the UK and Turkey, but that shouldn’t get in the way of a sound business idea. Geographical location certainly didn’t present an obstacle for Andrew Salmon, ex CEO of uSwitch.com the UK price comparison site uSwitch.com.
Looking further afield, Andrew Salmon, a former PricewaterhouseCoopers corporate financier, had his head turned by Turkey, where there is a large consumer market, experiencing significant growth in internet penetration and where there is a need for greater choice and transparency in consumer energy tariffs. Getting together with a group of co-investors including Vipul Amin and George Milford Haven, they decided to invest in Turkey’s EnCazip, an energy price comparison site. The result? Turkish energy customers who use the site can now easily compare, switch and save up to 20% on their energy bills.
The Encazip story goes back to a message which was sent by Cagada Eroğlu on LinkedIn, expressing his confidence that a similar service could be set up in Turkey to the uSwitch,com founders. Eroğlu had been studying for a postgraduate degree in the UK when he discovered that uSwitch was able to help him save money on a £450 energy bill. Inspired, Eroğlu got in touch with uSwitch.
Salmon has proven that he has a good track record of making the right decisions at the right time. The uSwitch.com sale saw the company transfer hands for £210 million in 2006 to Scripps, the American company. Now Andrew Salmon and his business partners have set their sights on Turkey, which has been a relatively untapped market for products which broaden consumer choice.
So what is Encazip now able to offer Turkish consumers? The same advantages which British customer enjoyed when uSwitch.com came on the scene – that is, a comparison tool which is fair in its design and the way it is marketed, helping the best rates to be identified, and also, a catalyst for competition which has the ability to reduce rates due to its pitting of rival Turkish energy companies against each other.
A useful insight into the EnCazip business model is provided by Onur Orakçıoğlu, a Managing Partner at the organisation. He told 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.”
Orakçıoğlu continued: “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.”
EnCazip have faced the challenge of adapting what is essentially a western business idea in an eastern market. Andrew Salmon saw to it that the EnCazip team was fully prepared for the task of running business. This training has given them the commercial acumen and awareness to make the EnCazip dream a reality.
So what lies ahead for Encazip and Andrew Salmon? It appears to be imperative that Encazip sticks to the ‘uSwitch formula’ if it is to optimise its market penetration and become a trusted tool for Turkish consumers. What does this mean in practical terms? Avoiding the sales driven path which comparison tools can succumb to, and sticking religiously to a policy of offering unbiased information designed to educate consumers.