Jane Lucy, CEO & Founder of The Labrador tells us about David versus Goliath type ambition to disrupt the UK energy market allowing automatic switching to the lowest cost provider without the need to lift a finger.
What do you currently do?
The Labrador is a free, accurate and automated service that tracks your energy use, through your smart meter, and automatically switches you to the cheapest tariff on the market.
It’s a service recently launched against the backdrop of it now being almost 20 years since the energy market in Great Britain was deregulated; and despite there now being over 70 energy suppliers, 80 per cent of households are still paying over the odds with the Big 6.
Time and time again energy is in the media given it’s one of the most expensive household bills, with concern about people paying on average £300 p.a. too much. Every time, market research shows that the answer is switching.
The Labrador is designed to make switching easy and accessible – it doesn’t rely on customer engagement post sign up and can guarantee a household cheaper energy forever.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
I became interested in using technology to empower consumers when I was working with Hugh Fearnley-Whittinstall. After some successful projects to disrupt the supermarkets, I was keen to leverage that approach elsewhere.
Energy appealed given I am yet to meet someone who doesn’t have at least one energy horror story. It’s something we all need, but is so painful to engage in.
When the government announced the smart meter roll out and that crucially, it is consumers who own the data and not energy suppliers, I saw a fantastic opportunity for consumers to own an asset that could radically rebalance the market in their favour.
But I knew behaviour change wasn’t the answer and so focused on a hassle-free service where consumers can delegate The Labrador to unlock savings and value on their behalf.
What defines your way of doing business?
Being consumer centric. If we can’t deliver real value for consumers, then we aren’t doing our job.
Who do you admire?
Anyone who has established a successful business, particularly consumer champion brands. I also have huge admiration for my sister, Anna Sedgley.
Looking back is there anything you’d do differently?
No, I don’t think there is. That is not to say that things have always gone the way I expected nor that things have always happened in the timeframe I expected! Trying to radically change a market dominated by big players is not a small ambition. But I can’t help but feel bitten by the David versus Goliath type ambition…
What advice would you give someone just starting out?
Make sure you have a solid idea and then go for it.