Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we’re talking with Adrian Merrick founder of energy retailer Energy Locals, .
In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.
We want to kill off the need for customers to use energy retailers. So we started one. Sounds weird, eh? We’re deconstructing the traditional way energy is sold from the inside out. For a start we don’t earn money from the number of units of energy that customers use, so we’re as motivated as you to cut your usage and reliance on the dirty and expensive grid.
We commit to never changing prices for profit. We’re transparent about what we earn and as a social enterprise, 50% of profit goes to Aussie communities, charities and into new, local renewable energy. Soon we’ll roll out grid+solar options that even renters can benefit from. There’s a better way to do energy and we’re on it.
What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?
We raised round one capital from some people that also want to see the energy industry disrupted. We’re spending that cash extremely carefully – less than 40% of it was spent getting everything built and launched – and we outsource work only if we’re physically unable to learn how to do it ourselves. Doing so much inhouse keeps us super close to our customers and partners, so we’re able to quickly adapt to their needs.
What’s the biggest challenge facing your business?
Most customers couldn’t care less about energy. We need them to care enough to spend just 5 minutes letting us make things better for them.
What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?
Slack. We have virtually no internal emails which is incredibly refreshing. Plus Skip is saving heaps of time waiting around for coffee on our 4+ trips for takeaway caffeine each day.
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t be a prick. Our whole business is based on this principle and it’s very refreshing for both our customers and our team.
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