2018 Fast 50 Winner: Electric Kiwi
L-R Bill Hale (Deloitte Private Partner), Nick Haines (Electric Kiwi CFO), Luke Blincoe (Electric Kiwi CEO), Timothy Wixon (BNZ Head of Tech Industry)
Based in the heart of Auckland's CBD, power company Electric Kiwi have seen stunning revenue growth, as New Zealanders across the country sign up to their services. Promising savings on electricity, their friendly and approachable brand took the number one place on the 2018 Fast 50 index.
After the busiest week of his business’s lifespan so far, we spoke to CEO Luke Blincoe, to discuss his thoughts on the festival, the immediate effects of being a Fast 50 winner and the importance of Electric Kiwi’s strong team of people.
Firstly, congratulations! How does it feel to be named the winner of the 2018 Fast 50 index?
We're very proud and we're grateful to Deloitte Private for the event. We got to build some networks and also learn from other businesses that are going through the same or similar challenges to us.
How did you celebrate with your team?
We had a morning tea on Thursday, and because there were a bunch of really important people who weren't there on the night, the whole team went out for a few quiet drinks on Thursday night.
Where have you put the award?
It's alongside two other Deloitte Private awards that we’ve won, which were for Fastest Growing Retail & Consumer Products Business in the Auckland region and nationally, so it's in good company. We seem to do well at Deloitte Private sponsored events - you've got to keep having them!
Why do you think Electric Kiwi has seen the amazing growth that it has?
I think it goes back to really good decisions made by the founders of the business, Huia Burt, Julian Kardos, and Phill Anderson. They chose to really focus on systems and investment in software development, making sure that we can automate as many of the processes as we can. By doing that, we've enabled a lower cost to serve.
Since then, we've got some really good people involved that have helped us hone our digital marketing capability so that our costs for that are also very cheap. In all, things have come together with a fantastic team providing a fantastic experience.
How have you found New Zealanders have responded to your business approach?
We've had overwhelming support. Probably one of our biggest channels is people referring their friends to Electric Kiwi, so obviously the success kind of snowballs when you do a good job of looking after people. If you provide good value, the referrals just come.
What is your vision for Electric Kiwi’s future?
We see the existing trajectory as being very sustainable, so we expect to add a similar number of customers every year. That should see us get to a pretty decent scale in the next few years. In terms of international growth, we think that the intellectual property and the software systems are absolutely transferable to other markets.
Do you think there is anything unique about New Zealand when it comes to starting a business?
We do have a pretty good environment for businesses. I think it's fair to say that New Zealand is probably one of the best places in the world to do business. Kiwis like to give a challenger a go so I think that challenger brands get a good shake in New Zealand. They're ready to support the underdog and see the challenger do well.
How did you first hear about the Fast 50?
Nick Haines, our CFO, had been involved with Deloitte Private on a number of things so we had an awareness, but this was the first year that we'd qualified in terms of having three years of history.
How have you found the response from everyone since winning?
The response from a customer point of view was absolutely immediate. Thursday was our biggest sales day ever in terms of customers signing up, and the week of the awards was our biggest sign up week too. It was very much an immediate effect from the PR and publicity that Deloitte Private has driven.
How would you describe this year’s Fast 50 experience and the Festival of Growth?
The festival was excellent. I thought the speakers were really good and the options available for panels and discussion were bang on for the stage that our business is at. Also, having other people share their first-hand experiences was really insightful.
Jen Scouler works in the Deloitte clients & marketing team across digital content and social media. She also works closely with Deloitte Private.