What’s your elevator pitch?
UrbanVolt is an award-winning Irish company that provides ‘Light as a Service’ to industrial and commercial clients. We invest all the money to install and maintain new LED lighting fixtures, generating an immediate 75% savings on energy costs for our customers. We then share those cash savings with our clients for five years.
How long have you been in business?
We started in September 2015 and went to market in Jan 2016. Since our market launch, we have helped our Irish clients save over 20 million euros, without anyone ever asking a customer for a penny upfront.
What did you want to be ‘when you grew up’?
I don’t want to grow up, ask me in 20 years.
What’s your ambition now?
Our innovative business model can save billions of euros for businesses around the world, and we are determined to deliver on that potential. By 2020, we aim to provide one billion euros in savings for our customers and help to make the world’s transition to sustainability easier.
We never received support from any of the government-sponsored programmes, as they showed no interest and a total lack of understanding of our business model.
What’s the most important thing you have learned so far in business?
Surround yourself with great people and then give them the confidence and the belief that they can achieve anything. Most businesses look for people who have reached their potential and are ‘proven players’ in their respective careers. We believe in the opposite – find people before they reach their potential and help them to get there.
What was your biggest ‘mistake’ been, in business so far?
This is a tough question as I’ve made many errors in business over the years. However, upon reflection, I can say that there has been one ‘mistake’ that has been at the root of all of them – slow decision making. If people read this and don’t want to make all of the glaring mistakes that I have made, I would say that they should carry out the painful decisions quickly and early. The later you leave it, the more painful the outcomes for everyone involved.
Who inspires you in the business world?
Michael O’Leary is someone that I find incredibly impressive. He has the strength of conviction to speak his mind at all times. He had the strategic skills to see that the airline industry was broken and could see the future clearly ten years before anyone else. Finally, and most importantly, he has the operational skills to execute on a business model with more moving parts than almost any other industry. You rarely see all that in one person.
What historical figure would you choose to have dinner with?
Henry Flagler. He was John D Rockefeller’s business partner and was the strategic brains behind the growth of Standard Oil (six of the seven largest oil companies in the world were originally spun out of Standard Oil). He also created the most successful railroad company in America at a time when railroads were the lifeblood of the economy. He was the Elon Musk of his time with a big vision and excellent execution skills.
If you were ‘ruler for a day’ what would you do to change the business or social climate in this country?
I would make the entire government, including the ‘opposition,’ take an IQ test and make the results public, then call for a general election.
Did you receive any supports to start your business and what do you need most at this stage of your business?
No, we never received support from any of the government-sponsored programmes, as they showed no interest and a total lack of understanding of our business model. We are tremendously proud of the fact that we now employ 25 people directly and over 100 indirectly and that by the end of 2017, we will have created over 200 new jobs in Ireland.