Today, we’re the #1 energy distribution platform in the Netherlands and #2 in Germany, for consumers and SME’s. We work with all leading energy retailers. We pull together cloud solutions, data analytics and connectivity to create a powerful business offering for more than 500 business partners. We provide 60 energy suppliers access to high value sales channels like telemarketing, door-to-door, direct sales, retail and real estate with new digital channels coming soon. But we’re more than just a switching platform. With real-world comparison, acquisition and switching experience going back to 2005. We really know the energy market.
From door-to-door sales to online
Our origins go all the way back to the liberalisation of the Dutch energy market in 2004. In 2008 the business evolved into Combisales International, a fast-growing contract sales organisation specialised in selling energy and telecom subscriptions door-to-door. That lasted until 2011, with some pivots and lots of other exciting developments along the way. Then, we became involved in the budding space of online energy auctions and also started advising large corporates on how to get the best energy deals via our own boutique energy broker Flink Consultants. In 2014, we switched our 50,000th SME client and launched another new business called Energiemanager.nl that combined a website with door-to-door advice on switching gas and electricity suppliers. Old school meets new. Offline and on.
Time to shift to Connecthing
Seeing where things were going we adopted the name Connecthing in recognition of our growing focus on developing digital platforms for our partners. Connecthing was established in 2016 as the holding company for our business and consumer labels and inkoopmanager.nl was born. Our label dedicated to partnering with SME purchasing managers, acting as their trusted partner for energy.
Lean platform focus
The big pivot came in 2017 after we bought #1 energy distribution platform NutSelect. NutSelect connects Dutch energy retailers with third-party intermediaries (TPIs). Rather than spreading ourselves too thin, we decided to rationalise and scale back our other businesses and concentrate on growing the NutSelect switching platform. This led us to buy our biggest SME-focused competitor, Synnion, and, shortly after, SCHERP Ontwikkeling, the software company that developed SalesView Pro. We sold our corporate energy business Flink Consultants. Having migrated all our business onto SalesView Pro, we now operate in the Netherlands under the NutSelect label in both consumer and SME markets. The best brand together combined with the best platform.
The Netherlands is the most mature market in Europe. We’ve seen it all. Or so we thought. We took a really close look at the UK. The only market that liberalized before the Netherlands and still pushing the envelope. We don’t believe in price comparison websites in the long run but we really liked what a bunch of companies were doing with auto-switching. We decided to adapt the concept into what we call an auto-saver or switching robot. Something totally new. A win-win for suppliers and end customers. In 2020 we launched Vanzelf. In Dutch it means “automatic” or “super easy”. Soon to be a digital household name.
Europe is a big place but it didn’t take us long to figure our where to go next. Germany is the biggest energy market. But that’s not why we decided to start there. Switch rates may be less than half the Dutch rates but the potential savings for customers are significantly higher and competition is increasing fast. It’s the perfect time for us to enter and put our mature market knowledge to work. In 2021 we acquired ICSenergie the #2 energy distribution platform for TPIs. We see a huge growth opportunity. Our total addressable market just went from 8 to 56 million customers.