In our latest episode of Julius Baer’s True Connections podcast, Alan Hooks, Head of Private Clients UK, speaks with Henry de Zoete, Co-Founder of Look After My Bills. In a broad and fascinating conversation, they discuss how the business developed from the initial concept, the value of being part of the Y-Combinator incubator, why he and his co-founder decided to sell the business, and finally what it’s like to be the most successful deal in the history of the Dragons’ Den TV show.
Listen to the podcast
Click on the player below to hear Alan and Henry’s conversation:
As with many innovative businesses, Henry’s started with a simple problem that he and his Co-Founder, Will Hodson, were facing – namely that their own energy deals has ended and they found themselves stuck on the most expensive rates. Their initial solution was a business called The Big Deal. The idea was to use “the collective bargaining power of thousands of people” to get everyone better energy deals. And it worked. But that business then pivoted, as Henry would say, into the automatic switching service Look After My Bills - a business that, to-date, has saved its over half a million customers more than £149m.
From a consumer’s perspective, it’s one of those businesses that seemed to come out of nowhere. However, as Henry says, it is one of those classic stories of a business that may seem to be an overnight success but in fact was a journey spanning a number of years to grow beyond the close friends that started it. One part of that journey was the time spent in the California based start-up incubator, Y-Combinator, which has an alumni list including names like Air BnB, Drop Box and Reddit. Henry explains that being a part of the Y-Combinator programme not only gave them access to a fantastic network of business and investors but also gave confidence to the existing investors of The Big Deal that the switch of business plan to the Look After My Bills model would succeed.
A topic that is frequently mentioned by entrepreneurs we speak to is the value of a business having a mission and Look After My Bills is no different. Henry’s take is that a clear mission not only helps attract the best talent who share the business’ values but also attracts investors who know that for a start-up to succeed, they need a defined purpose and great talent. This is something that is clearly a core part of the way Henry and Will ran the business – always coming back to why the business is here - to try to change the system for the better.
To hear Henry’s story, please listen to the podcast using the player above.
Having a good idea is one thing. Pushing through and implementing it is another. We portray entrepreneurs who share their personal stories and reflect on lessons learnt.