People Are Ditching The "Big 6" Energy Companies For This Dragons' Den Success Story...
By Jessica Truss | Published April 22, 2020
Entrepreneurs Henry de Zoete and Will Hodson have been on a crazy journey over the past two years.
In August 2018, they made Dragons’ Den history by netting the best deal at the time. A year later, they sold their business, Look After My Bills, for £12.5m.
Since then, they have saved their clients over £50 million! This is a Dragon's Den success story that you don't want to miss out on. Keep reading to see how you can join the 300,000 people saving money every year.
How It All Started
The pair met at Bristol University at the turn of the millennium and became good mates. After graduating, they went their separate ways professionally – Henry ending up as a special advisor to Michael Gove at the Department of Education and Will joining Deloitte and later launching a tech start-up – but they still kept in regular contact.
In 2014, they caught up at a party, with fortuitous timing, as they had both just finished other things. “Will had just wound up his start-up and I was thinking of moving on from the Department of Education,” says Henry. “I’d worked there for four years. It was a brilliant job but full-on. I was at the mercy of the media 24/7 while dealing with the civil service, trying to get things done in a big bureaucracy. So Will and I met again at a turning point in our lives and we started to knock business ideas around.”
The Big Deal
In 2014, they launched The Big Deal. The concept was to build an extensive database of customers and negotiate deals with energy providers on their behalf, creating economies of scale.
Henry says: “We quickly built up a database of several hundred thousand, working with various groups and newspapers. We then brokered deals with energy providers. In total, we saved our customers £100m – an average of £280 per household.”
However, a significant issue soon reared its head.
The one-off deals that Henry and Will had been negotiating usually ended after 12 months.
Then, The Big Deal’s customers would automatically roll onto less enticing deals – unless they switched again. “That’s how it works,” says Henry. “Providers pull in customers with sweet deals, then put their prices up.
So, our customers started telling us: why do we have to switch each year? Why don’t you do it for us? We trust you. It was a Eureka moment.”
A Better Way
Towards the end of 2016, Will and Henry changed their strategy.
They started looking beyond one-off deals and wondering whether they could manage their customers’ bills long term, changing provider at the right time to secure the best deals.
After much deliberation, they decided they could and Look After My Bills was born. But changing their business model so fundamentally wasn’t easy. “We pivoted to Look After My Bills in 2017. Basically, we blew up The Big Deal model and moved to something new. But it was scary because The Big Deal had worked. It had generated more than £1m in revenue in 2016". Starting fresh was the only way we could build something even bigger.
Enter The Dragons
While watching Dragons’ Den one night, it struck Henry that the programme could be just what they needed to launch the new business. Before long, they were accepted and invited on.
“It was terrifying. Incredible. In the Den, you’ve got to get all the information out there before the Dragons tear you to shreds. We’d been going since 2014 and built £3m in revenue, so we had a proven track record. That helped us to power through our pitch. But it wasn’t easy and we knew that the first Dragon’s response would be crucial because they can follow a group mentality. We got lucky. Tej Lalvani cut to the chase and made an early offer. That got the ball rolling in the right direction. When negotiating, it’s vital to leave a bit of wriggle room on the deal you’re after – remember, it’s a negotiation, not a take-it-or-leave-it situation.”
The Biggest Deal Ever
Their strategy worked.
The duo walked away with three huge wins: incredible advertising and PR, £120,000 of investment (in exchange for a 3% equity in their business), and access to two of the best entrepreneurial minds in the UK – Jenny Campbell and Tej Lalvani.
“We got a little merry on the train back from Manchester,” laughs Henry.
An Even Better Look After My Bills
Since the launch of The Big Deal to present day, the pair say they have been driven first and foremost by social conscience, not cash.
They've strived to deliver a product that isn't just good for them, but good for consumers. And they have succeeded.
There’s a massive demand for a service that promises to remove the headache of managing bills while reducing costs (they’ve already reached 300,000 customers).
With that in mind, it’s no surprise the Dragons bit Henry and Will’s hands-off, nor that GoCo Group gobbled up the rest (at least doubling the Dragons’ money in the process) £12.5 million in 2019.
Together, GoCo Group and Look After My Bills can deliver even better savings to their clients.
So How Can You Get In On This?
If you also have a good eye for a good idea (just like the Dragons), then you're probably wondering how you can get in on this.
You've come to the right place. Let's lay out the simple steps that will save you an average of £253 every year...
Join over 300,000 people who are saving money on their energy bills without lifting a finger!