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WHAT OUR HUGELY SUCCESSFUL CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN MEANS FOR REBEL

Rebel Energy’s first round of crowdfunding finished with a remarkable 335% overfunding. This huge vote of confidence from the investor community lets us take the strongest possible launch into the market.  

We raised more than £500,000 from both small and large donations. Our target was £150,000 – and we reached that within an hour of going public. From then, more and more backers claimed a slice of the rebellion.  

The average numbers of investors on Crowdcube is 269. We got nearly 700. As far as we can tell, this is one of the most successful ever pre-revenue raises on the platform. 

Why? Well, our mission mattered.  

Investor after investor told us that our mission was key. Rebel wants to end fuel poverty, protect the environment and change the way business is done. As far as we’re concerned, our social and environmental missions are the same thing. This resonated. 

One investor summed it up nicely when they said “I absolutely love your mission and purpose. It is a brilliant concept”. In the words of another, “Congratulations on your already successful campaign. It is great to see more investment in renewable energy and also a company with a good social conscience”.   

But it’s not just the mission. Investors were inspired by our lean and forward-looking business model.  

According to our (relatively conservative) estimates, the domestic energy market is set to double in the next 15 years. And Rebel is perfectly designed for this major transition. In fact, we’ve rebuilt the energy supplier from the ground up. Gone are the lumbering IT systems, gone are the unfair pricing structures, gone is the disinterested customer service. Having automated back-end processes, our business is now leaner than our competitors at every stage of growth.  

Not to mention the extraordinary quality of our team, which was noted by one investor, who said, “It’s an impressive proposition and the leaders and non-exec look impressive”.  

Now that we’ve raised the money. What’s next?  

Right now, we’re reaching out to 750 early customers to be our beta testers. This lets us test our systems and make sure everything works smoothly.  

Before our full market launch in the summer, we’ll continue to develop our industry-leading automation. Plus, our smart new website will come out (which will include a few firsts for the energy market).  

There’s a lot to be excited about. Or as one investor summed it up: “What a model for the future.” 

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WHY REBEL ENERGY IS APPLYING FOR FULL B CORP CERTIFICATION

Rebel Energy is a Certified Pending B Corp (and we aim to become fully certified later this year).  

Frankly, we were never going to be anything else.  

There’s a simple reason for that: we think B Corps are the future, and it turns out a lot of investors share that view.  

A quick rundown on why: 

A B Corp — or Benefit Corporation — is legally required to consider the impact of its decisions on all of its stakeholders (customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders, local communities). Doing good is literally built into the legal structure of the business. 

B Corps are at the vanguard of stakeholder capitalism, a badly needed alternative to the existing model of shareholder capitalism. 

There are now over 500 B Corps in the UK – a remarkable number, considering the certification was only introduced here in 2015. Look through a list of these companies, and you’ll immediately see that these are businesses at the cutting edge: industry leaders, innovators and firms that will be successful long into the future. 

B Corps have a lot of advantages over their more traditional competitors.  

One, they attract talent. People who want to make a difference in their industries are drawn to B Corps. That’s partly how a start-up energy company like ours has been able to recruit some of the best minds in the energy industry.

Two, they attract customers. Millennials and Gen Z together amount for the biggest slice of the consumer market in the UK, and this demographic demands better from businesses. 62% prefer to buy from sustainable brands, and 68% of those are willing to pay more for it.  

But it’s not just the younger population. Across the country, more and more people of all age groups are spending their money with mission-driven businesses. The pandemic has heightened this urgency. B Corps are businesses that people can trust.  

Three, they attract investors. B Corps tend to be both innovative and resilient. Often remarkably so. After the 2008 recession, B Corps were 63% more likely to survive. That’s a stunning figure. And in the UK, these companies have reported average revenue growth of 14% year-on-year since launch.  

We’re proud to be a part of this remarkable community of businesses. All of us pursuing what shouldn’t be such a radical idea: long-term success, for everybody.

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WHY REBEL IS THE ENERGY SUPPLIER FOR THIS UNIQUE MOMENT

The UK home energy market is set to *double* over the next 15 years. We’ve worked this out based on an explosive combination of new factors (an increase in electric vehicles, more people working from home) with old factors (a growing population, an increase in housing stock).  

We’re pretty sure this will be the biggest-ever period of growth in the market. And companies offering clean energy, affordable prices and superb customer service will see by far the biggest piece of that growth, as customers new and existing will move away from out-of-date suppliers.  

Commentators call it ‘the energy transition’, and Rebel Energy was founded to make it accessible to everybody, no matter what your income is.  

The pandemic has accelerated all of these factors – and added a new one.  

There is a sudden awareness that we can tackle the big issues facing us, and that these issues are interlinked anyway. We saw an incredible wave of altruism and a determination to buy local and to help the people around us.  

And people mean it. A number of studies have shown that, since the pandemic, people are making more ethical, sustainable and environmentally friendly choices. 

This is what change looks like.  

That’s what makes Rebel the energy supplier for this unique moment. As well as supplying clean, affordable energy, we keep things local. We generate our energy in the UK, and we invest in carbon-removal projects throughout the country. And the issue that is dearest to our hearts – ending fuel poverty in the UK. 

There has never been a greater urgency for businesses that tackle social issues. For people who were struggling financially before COVID, the added pressures of the past year have been devastating. The status quo—the poverty premium, rising prices, stagnant wages and disinterested business—is just not going to cut it anymore. 

When you support Rebel, you help us support the people who need it. 

We always knew now would be a good time to go to market. But we never imagined just how remarkably timely a company like ours would turn out to be. 

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WHO MAKES UP THE REBEL TEAM

The team that we’ve put together at Rebel has a list of collective achievements that would make anybody sit up and take notice.  

Industry veterans, rising stars and eye-catching innovators – all working together to transform the energy market. To get one of these people is great. Two, really impressive. But all five? Ridiculous.  

Here’s a quick look at our recent hires.  

Mark Neveu, Head of Sales & Partnerships 

The indefatigable Mark is something of a legend in the energy world. In a 15-year career, he has directly negotiated partnerships with the likes of Google, Tesla, Oxfam and Waitrose. His results speak for themselves: a nine-fold expansion of Tonik Energy’s customer base and 50% year-on-year growth at Ecotricity. 

At Rebel, Mark is forming partnerships that will help shape the future of energy.   

Bwalya Kasase, Head of Operations 

Bwalya is one of the most highly-regarded people in operations in the energy industry, with over 14 years of brilliant work behind him.  

As our Head of Operations, Bwalya has already mapped out and automated most of our back-end processes. This is more disruptive than it sounds — many companies don’t do this for years, let alone before going to market. This makes us highly competitive from the off.  

Rich Faulkner, Head of Pricing & Risk 

Frankly, we don’t think there’s anybody sharper than Rich Faulkner when it comes to pricing and risk in the energy market. Before joining Rebel, he set the purchase strategy for a £1bn/yr commodity portfolio (during a time of sweeping regulatory and market change, no less) and pushed for investment in renewable energy. 

Rich brings nearly 15 years of experience to Rebel (plus an MPhys in Physics from Oxford). He is steering our work on pricing, and has already developed some ingenious strategies that allow us to help those in need.  

Seb Fox, Head of Commercial Projects 

Seb has had a bright start to his career in energy. He joins Rebel after being one of the key people at the hugely successful Future of Utilities Summit in 2020. A remarkable achievement for someone so new to the game. 

We’re delighted to have Seb running our commercial projects. In the past weeks, he has put together a masterful crowdfunding campaign for Rebel (which is currently live & can be viewed here).  

Ellie Rowlands, Marketing Communications Lead  

Ellie has already made a name for herself in the sustainability world, less than two years after graduating from the University of Exeter with a 1st. Her launching of a global behaviour change project with the Himalayan Institute of Alternatives and her stellar communications work at the ground-breaking Devon Climate Emergency caught our eye, and we’re delighted to have scooped her up before anybody else did.  

At Rebel, Ellie is leading a multi-channel communications strategy and developing partnerships with top agencies. 

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We can’t imagine a better team to start transforming the energy market. 

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WHAT A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO ENERGY LOOKS LIKE

At Rebel Energy, we offer fair tariffs on our 100% UK-generated renewable energy. No matter what your income is.  

Sounds like the bare minimum an energy company should do, right?  

We agree. So we go much further than that by: 

  1. Offering plans that work for people at all incomes and circumstances.  
  2. Reinvesting our profits into community organisations. 
  3. Helping our customers get off of prepay and onto plans that save them money (and more on that later), and  
  4. Generating all of our energy in the UK and paying our employees a Living Wage while doing it. 

We call it ‘rebuilding society’, but you could just as easily call it ‘being fair’. 

Because being poor? It’s expensive. Nearly everything costs more the less money you have on hand. Overdraft fees, prepaid debit card charges, the cost of credit if an appliance breaks, payday loans. It all adds up to what we call the ‘poverty premium’. Households that have less money pay an average of £490 more a year for essential goods and services. And for one in ten of those households, that figure is at least £780.  

Utility pricing is one of the worst culprits for this and people who are less able to pay are always penalised. If you’re using a prepaid energy card, you pay *one-third* more for energy costs than if you had a direct debit. Water suppliers, streaming services, phone companies, etc., etc. They all operate like this. 

It is obviously wrong. And we simply won’t contribute to a system that is so plainly, totally unjust. 

So what are we doing different? 

One, we’re the only UK energy company that offers weekly payments as well as monthly at no extra cost. For one good reason: our 100% UK-generated renewable energy is available to everybody, no matter their income, circumstances or when they happen to get paid. 

Two, we’re one of a small number of companies taking charge of their carbon offsetting. We’ve set up our very own Restoration Fund to offset the carbon we create from supplying gas.  

Three, our ground-breaking work with TransUnion helps us get customers off prepay, onto regular payments, and improve their credit ratings as we do it. This project could change the game, so if you want to get into the weeds with us, read more here. 

There’s a lot more going on at Rebel. So when you set up a Rebel Energy account, you’re not just getting renewable energy at a fair price, you’re helping others save money too.

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EATING PANCAKES IS GREAT, WORKING FOR THE COLLECTIVE GOOD IS EVEN BETTER

Pancake Tuesday is a favourite day at Rebel HQ for all the obvious reasons (which are: eating pancakes, and then eating even more pancakes).  

This year, we probably won’t be giving up anything for Lent. Because, well, we’ve all given up quite a lot already and a slice of cake here and there might be just what we need to carry us through.  

But we will be thinking about the sacrifices people are making this Lent – not seeing friends, not seeing family, not going on holiday, not going out for a bite to eat, etc. And how all of those sacrifices are for the good of each other.  

Because, lets face it: usually our big sacrifices have a personal focus. Slimming down, saving money, doing dry January. All good things, of course, but the benefits probably aren’t rippling out too far. 

What we’ve learned in the last year is that we can make sacrifices for the greater good — sacrifices for the people around us, sacrifices for people we don’t even know. And those are the sacrifices that really matter. 

At Rebel, our belief is that, with will and imagination, we can solve the problems that have so far appeared unsolvable. And despite it all, this last year has shown us that a better world is possible. That things can change for the better.  

And a fairer, healthier, cleaner future isn’t a bad thing to think about over your morning pancakes. 

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Proud to put the light on at christmas

Energy companies usually only enter our consciousness as logos on envelopes. The name accompanying a slice of money gone from our bank statement.

We don’t think of energy companies when we hear that click and reassuring rumble of the central heating coming on. Or turning on the light on a dark winter morning and taking a minute with a coffee and the radio. Or the warm white LEDs that twinkle around our Christmas trees. Or the busy oven and stovetop, whose hard work, if we’re all being honest, accounts for a pretty good chunk of the joy of Christmas.

Because these things aren’t ‘utilities’. They’re home. 

Now, we’re not trying to take credit for the concepts of light and warmth. We’re just saying that supplying these fundamentals is a responsibility. Dare we say, a privilege. 

Especially in winter. Especially at Christmas. Especially this Christmas.

So what does that responsibility look like to us? Affordable tariffs, UK-generated renewable energy, actually trying to help our customers when they engage with our customer service (this one really should not sound so outlandish). And making life easier for the people who need a little help.

And what it doesn’t look like is minimum adherence to one-size-fits-all regulation.

Being part of the run of events that puts heat into people’s radiators and light into their lightbulbs—that’s something to be proud of. 

Our hope this Christmas is that when customers see our logo on an envelope, they don’t feel that blank, vaguely hostile feeling of ‘oh these guys’. Instead, they just trust us to do things right. 

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How technology can help us to be more human…..

Earlier this week our Chief Commercial Officer Penelope took part in a webinar hosted by MarketForce, which brought together a series of experts from across the utilities sector to discuss the critical topic of customer experience and how digital transformation can be used to better interact with customers.

Getting this right from the start is something that is taking up a large amount of our time right now.  A typical energy customer will think about their supplier for only around 7 minutes a year (yes, a year!), and usually that’s only because something has gone wrong.  Here at Rebel we want to give our customers a compelling reason to engage with us – whether that be to find out more about our ‘renew’ approach to the environment, or to discover more about our strategy to alleviating fuel poverty.

One of the key themes that came out of the session looked at how customer expectations have changed over recent years, and this has only been accelerated by the upheaval of the last few months.  People are using more energy as they spend time at home, and are keen to understand what they can do to be more efficient and spend less on their bills. But the biggest change we’ve seen is how people are looking to brands to provide positive leadership – both in how ethically they do business, but also in their approach to sustainability.  Customers are also demanding a more personal connection with the business they use and ironically enough, it is technology that will enable better personalisation of the products and services that we offer

Right now, as we design and build our business ready for launch, we are focussing on making sure that we are using AI and cutting edge automated processes to free up our customer services people to be able to have genuine and useful conversations with our customers – using technology to allow people to have better human interactions with their energy supplier.  And because we’re not constrained by legacy technology, like the traditional energy companies, we can build faster and better.  It is that technology, and the data that it manages, that will allow us to help customers get out of fuel poverty, by being able to make more accurate decisions about credit risk and move vulnerable customers onto the cheapest tariffs.  It will also allow us to offer an easy quoting and switching process – giving more accurate prices that mean no nasty bill surprises when you become a customer.  And it will mean that our ‘Rebels’ should have more, positive reasons to talk to us.

The conversation on Monday also discussed how innovation needed to be a key business driver in order to keep up with the pace of change.  Innovation is a key part of our DNA.  Creativity is one of our key values and we will be striving as a business to constantly innovate in the way that we, and the wider industry, does things – driving down costs, and improving the quality of our service.

We are creating a rebellion – big business can be good business.  Join us – be a rebel!

 

 

 

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Rebel in the news!

Yesterday we were really pleased to support our partner Blue Prism, in their announcement about how we were working with them to create a digital workforce.  One of the things I’ve been really clear about from day one is that we need to take a ‘digital first’ approach to building Rebel – automating standard industry processes and creating systems that can handle a lot of the ‘day to day’ repetitive work that comes from running an energy supplier.  This means we can create roles for our people that are more purposeful and engaging, allowing them to build genuine relationships with our customers and focus on problem solving, rather than correcting data or trying to manage data flows.  Our partnership with Blue Prism is a key part of our strategy to build a better business – one that enables our people to build fulfilling careers and helps us to keep costs low for our customers.

And as you may have seen – the media seemed really interested in our story!  We were overwhelmed with the positive response, and we’re really looking forward to continuing to tell the world about Rebel over the next few months as we get ready for launch.

You can read some of the pieces by following the links below, and if you want to find out more about what we’re doing, making sure you sign up to read our newsletter here.

Energy Live News

Current News

Power Technology

Connecting Industry 

Smart Energy International

We were also in Utility Week and Bloomberg, but both of these are behind paywalls, so we haven’t linked them here.

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Building a Rebel business – getting the building blocks right.

These are the critical early days for Rebel Energy.  We’re building a business that has a strong moral compass, but crucially, also needs to be financially sustainable – because without that, we can’t deliver on the change we want to achieve.

 So for the next month or so we might be a little quiet.  We’re currently going through our latest funding round – looking to partner with investors that share our principles and are excited about what we want to do with Rebel Energy, and understand the full potential of the financial opportunity.  Early conversations are going well, and we hope to be able to make some announcements soon, if you want to hear more about our investment round please drop us a line – at bearebel@rebelenergy.com.

 As we talked about in our last blog, we’re also kicking off our recruitment process – looking for the right people to become Rebels.  And we’re putting in place the technical infrastructure that we need to build a successful energy retailer – all whilst trying to reimagine processes and procedures to make our customers’ lives easier.  It would be very easy to just follow what others had done here, but we’re questioning each of the stages – asking if it has to be that way – and seeking to improve the way that customers might get a quote for their energy and sign up with us.  This for us is almost the most important stage.

 We don’t want to be the same as everyone else – we want to change energy for the better and that means getting things right first time.  We want to do away with processes that cause frustration for customers and eliminate the errors that energy companies are known for. Great customer service and experience will be key to ‘walking the talk’ and delivering on our values.

Interested in finding out more about Rebel?  You can read all our previous blogs here, or sign up to our newsletters and stay up to date with our latest news and announcements.