Today is a special day for the team at OVO. This morning, we announced that Mitsubishi Corporation has made a substantial investment in our company, becoming a significant shareholder. Of course, it is very exciting to reach this milestone, but even more important is what this investment says about our business model and what it is going to help us to achieve in the future.
I founded OVO in 2009 with a clear ambition. I wanted to build a company I was proud of. 10 years ago, it seemed to me that transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy was the biggest, most complex challenge facing humankind. For the past 500,000 years, our primary energy source has been burning carbon. With the human population now reaching eight billion, and the demand for energy rising every day, we cannot continue like this. Quite simply put, our civilisation depends on us finding another way.
At OVO, we started off with the ambition to make energy cheaper, greener and simpler; making it easy for everyone to play their part in addressing climate change. We committed to supporting more and more renewable power, to keeping our prices low through digitisation, and focused on building trust by delivering a great customer experience based on simplicity and transparency. At the time these were seen as real innovations in a sector that had changed little in decades. From before day one, our guiding principle has always been to make all of our decisions as if the customer were in the room.
Over the years we have invested in many new energy technologies, expanding beyond energy retail. Today we are helping our customers reduce energy consumption, drive the adoption of zero carbon heat, integrate electric vehicles onto the grid and even allow customers to use energy from their cars to power their homes.
10 years on and we are an 1,800 person team serving 1.5m customers across the UK, Germany and soon beyond. We have achieved so much already, but know we’re only just getting started.
The costs of wind and solar generation, electric vehicles and battery storage have fallen dramatically in recent years, but integrating them together onto the energy grid is becoming increasingly complex and expensive at scale. If we are to deliver a zero carbon system that is affordable to everyone, we will have to completely rethink how energy works.
So when I think about what makes me most proud of the business we’ve built, with rapid growth, commercial success, and countless awards, the one thing that really stands outs is that 10 years on and 1.5m customers later, we have stayed true to our values. Whilst no company is perfect, in 2019 we still believe the best way to run our business is to make every decision as if a customer was in the room with us.
Our mission is to Power human progress through clean, affordable energy for everyone. Our success as a company is completely aligned with society’s success in addressing climate change and giving everyone access to the energy they need to power their lives.
We’re for profit, but not just for profit. Mitsubishi Corporation’s investment recognises the value in that.
I would like to thank the whole OVO team, past and present. I want to thank all the partners that have helped us along the way. I want to thank Mitsubishi Corporation for sharing our vision. And most of all I want to thank all the customers who join us on this journey.