Breda, June 5 2021 – Our success depends on our ability to forge partnerships that are mutually rewarding and long lasting. The same applies to mankind and mother nature.
No progress without power. No economic growth without energy. No creature comforts, no convenience, no vitality. But today it’s no longer just about having enough energy to meet our growing needs, it’s also about having the right kind of energy and not wasting it. That means affordable energy, responsible energy, sustainable energy.
At Connecthing, we help accelerate the energy transition by making switching easy. We strip the complexity out of the process. Since 2018 more than 90% of the switches facilitated by our platform in the Netherlands are green. In Germany we have already exceeded 50%.
“We are proud of the results we achieve as a business but we decided it was time to do more as an organisation. Partnership is our most important core value. At the end of the day the only partnership that really matters is the one between people and planet. This is why we decided to support World Environment Day”, said David Tuohy the CEO of Connecthing.
In 1972, the United Nations (UN) designated 5 June as World Environment Day (WED). This has evolved into a global platform with governments, companies and organisations actively participating in over 140 countries. The theme for WED 2021 is “Ecosystem Restoration” and the slogan is “Reimagine Recreate Restore”.
"We are ravaging the very ecosystems that provide us with the food, water and resources we need to survive. The Earth is resilient, but she needs our help. By restoring ecosystems, we can reverse the damage we have done and help our planet heal," said the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on WED 2021.
Ecosystem restoration means assisting in the recovery of ecosystems that have been degraded or destroyed, as well as conserving the ecosystems that are still intact. Connecthing kicked off WED 2021 with a guest speaker from a well-known Dutch environmental NGO focused on ecosystem restoration. Then it was the employees turn to get to work. The assignment was simple. Get outside closer to nature and burn as many calories of your own energy as you can and Connecthing will convert your energy into money to be donated to one or more ecosystem restoration initiatives.
“Everybody really got stuck in. I cycled and canoed. Others ran and walked but we even had employees that went water-biking and stand-up paddling. All outdoors and Corona proof. We never expected such a positive response from our partners. Lichtblick one of our German suppliers also made a donation and we still have requests coming in from Dutch partners who want to contribute. Others have already promised to include WED in the budget for next year”, said Tuohy. In August Connecthing will announce the recipients of the donations and the amount of money generated by the employees.
Heilbronn, May 1 2021
Connecthing is on track to complete integration and create a solid foundation for future growth of the group in Germany.
While Germany continues to operate in COVID lockdown, the team at ICSenergie has been working hard to complete the integration and prepare the business for the next phase of growth. Just like the rest of the Connecthing group, partnership is at the core of everything the business stands for. ICSenergie collaborates on both sides of the value chain and needs to deliver on their promise to both energy suppliers and Third Party Intermediaries (TPI). This means being reliable, energetic, innovative and sustainable every day.
“We are really excited to share our new corporate identity with all of our partners. This puts us in a new league that will set us apart from our competitors. The look is fresh and energetic but oozing partnership at the same time. Usually rebranding a business is a lengthy process but we share the same core values so it all felt really natural. We already feel like part of the Connecthing family”, said Marcus Lünig the Chief Operational Officer (COO) of ICSenergie.
In addition to rebranding the company the business is on track to implement new data analytics capabilities as planned. As market leader in the Netherlands, the group has invested heavily in business intelligence capabilities. Transferring these best-in-class practices to ICSenergie in Germany will enable the business to make major advances in the fields of partner management and yield optimization. Its all about connecting the right end customer with the right energy supplier via the right TPI.
“We are proud to be one of only three parties in Germany with a direct supply contract with Stadtwerke München. Thanks to a strong focus on sustainability and transparency they are considered to be the most successful municipal utility in the country. They currently serve more than one million customers. Such high-profile suppliers are critical to maintain a competitive advantage. We have been working on this contract for a long time and are thrilled to be able to celebrate the win as part of Connecthing”, said Vitor Lopes as Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of ICSenergie.
At the end of the day it’s about matching supply and demand in such a way that we can create meaningful value for all parties. The customer, the supplier and of course the TPI. But if there is no supply there is no demand. Stadtwerke München is a great win for the business early on in the year that will help ICSenergie to fuel growth and further enhance TPI loyalty moving forward.
Breda, January 27 2021
Vanzelf announces partnership with leading comparison and reviews website Kieskeurig.nl to help consumers take a better look at their energy contract.
While many people check their health insurance policy at the end of the year to see if they can save money, very few review their energy contract annually. An online survey commissioned by the new auto-saver service Vanzelf shows that only 13% of Dutch consumers switch energy supplier every year, 40% switch once in a while and 47% rarely or never do so.
The outcome of the survey is completely in line with the 2020 Energy Monitor from the Authority Consumers & Markets (ACM). The ACM found that in the period from April 2019 to March 2020 more than 1.7 million Dutch households switched to another energy supplier. This was a record number. But given that there are almost 8 million households in the Netherlands, this means that 3 out of 4 households remained with their current supplier.
The itch to switch
Consumers who never or hardly ever switch to another energy supplier indicate that they are satisfied with their current supplier (61%). Some of them (30%) do not believe that a switch will save them money. Others (also 30%) find switching too much hassle. However, the research clearly shows that there are moments in time when non-avid switchers are actually open to consider a new energy contract. Moving house, replacing the central heating system, buying a new boiler and the purchase of a washing machine or dryer are top of the list. The latter was the reason for Vanzelf to enter into a partnership with the leading online reviews and comparison website Kieskeurig.nl.
“Kieskeurig.nl is the go-to-website for many people when they are looking for a new household appliance. By working closely together, we hope to not only help people make the right choice for a new appliance, but also for their energy contract”, says Lydia Bartok, Marketing & Communications Manager at Vanzelf.
“Kieskeurig.nl aims to help consumers purchase products or subscribe to services. We do this by offering reliable price and product information and verified customer reviews. We want to make it as easy as possible for the consumer. The Vanzelf offering fits really well. By integrating their functionality, we can offer our visitors the opportunity to leave the hard work of finding great energy deals to somebody else. It couldn't be easier”, according to Kevin van Oosteren, Commercial Manager Kieskeurig.nl
So how does Vanzelf work?
The auto-saver is something new in the energy market. Vanzelf is an independent party that takes all the hassle out of switching. The service is free and super easy; you register and fill in your details once, then Vanzelf puts its algorithms to work to find a great deal and when it ends another great deal. Vanzelf takes all of your preferences into account and not only price. Year in, year out. Join Vanzelf and stop paying too much for your energy. No more worries.
The ACM has calculated that consumers can save up to 660 euros per year by switching to a new energy contract. Worth checking out, right? Register with Vanzelf now and find out how much you can save.
Heilbronn, January 11 2021
Completion of ICS Energie acquisition is a major milestone securing a solid position for growth in Europe’s biggest market.
With more than 41 million households, Germany is by far the largest energy market in Europe. In the Netherlands switch rates have increased steadily since market liberalization due to intensified competition and regulatory policy similar to the UK designed to stimulate switching. In the more mature markets like the Netherlands and the UK, switch rates have already surpassed 25%. Germany is only at half this rate due to a later liberalization and a more fragmented market structure. In absolute terms the number of households that switched energy supplier in Germany last year may be double the number in the Netherlands, but there are fives times as many households.
“The German market offers huge growth potential. It’s not only size but relative maturity that makes the market so attractive. More than 50% of all German households have never switched supplier with more than 80% being served by incumbent suppliers. Germany will catch up with the more mature markets and this means a lot more switches for distribution platforms like ICS Energie”, said David Tuohy the CEO of Connecthing.
Connecthing’s subsidiary NutSelect is the leading distribution platform in the Netherlands. Multiple companies with similar business model were identified and after a thorough evaluation Connecthing selected ICS Energie as the best candidate for their entry into the German market. Established in 2008, the company evolved into a leading energy distribution platform for Third Party Intermediaries (TPIs). The ICS platform connects end customers to more than 40 suppliers via 330 sales partners in Germany. Thanks to management’s strong focus on quality and customer satisfaction, ICS Energie has also been able to establish a number of exclusive partnerships with key suppliers. Marcus Lünig will continue in the role of Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Vitor Lopes as Chief Commercial Officer (CCO).
“Marcus and I are really excited about joining the Connecthing family. We are today where NutSelect was two or three years ago. There is so much to learn from our new colleagues in the Netherlands. We cannot wait to implement their best-in-class data analytics. This will help us accelerate growth and deliver a service to our sales partners and energy suppliers that goes way beyond what the competition can do in Germany”, said Vitor Lopes.
The acquisition of ICS Energie is an important first step in Connecthing’s international expansion as it creates a solid foundation for Connecthing to become Europe’s leading energy switching platform. Once ICS Energie has been integrated into the group the company plans to launch a new digital auto-saver service in Germany similar to Vanzelf in the Netherlands. Connecthing acquired all of the outstanding shares of ICS Energie from the founder and sole shareholder. No further details of the transactions have been disclosed.
Breda, 1 November 2020
Vanzelf is well on the way to becoming a household name in the Netherlands. It’s a popular Dutch word best translated as of one’s own accord, a matter of course or simply automatic. In short the best name one could conceive for an auto-saver as it really says it all.
After a successful beta launch earlier this year its time to take the new e-commerce brand mainstream. On November 1 Connecthing launched the first of a series of national TV and radio campaigns to build awareness for the new brand. Vanzelf is a new online service for consumers that makes switching energy supplier super simple. The overarching theme is saving without hassle.
The foundation for the concept is similar to a model already proven in the UK and further supported by our own Dutch market research. The majority of consumers already know they can save money but they don’t want the hassle. With Vanzelf you sign up once, fill in your preferences and we put our advanced algorithms to work. We let you know when we’ve found a deal and then we take care of the rest. When the deal ends we’ll find you a new deal. It’s a free service for consumers and truly independent. Unlike price comparison websites every energy supplier pays the same amount and we only switch to suppliers we trust who have good customer service.
Vanzelf only switches supplier when the consumer can save money. Our promise is simple; sign up once and never pay too much for your energy again. In the UK these online services are already becoming the norm with traditional price comparison websites rapidly loosing ground.
Connecthing’s Herman Mantel (ex-Telegraaf Media Groep and Sanoma) is the driving force behind Vanzelf; “Our research shows there is a lot of demand in the Netherlands. Vanzelf is not a price comparison website. We believe in saving without hassle for both the consumer and the supplier. We don’t have high up-front commissions. Instead we charge a small fee per connection per month but if the customer cancels early we don’t make money either. The knife cuts both ways.”
The initial response from both consumers and energy suppliers has far exceeded our expectations. Social media campaigns have also been launched with multiple online partnerships soon to come.
Breda, 1 October 2020
Consumers are aware that they can save a lot of money by switching energy providers but only a fraction actually do. Most are just too busy, don’t want the extra hassle or find it all too complex.
Every year the Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) publishes a market monitor for the Dutch energy market. Based on their latest findings released in June of this year we can see that the number of switches increased from 1.6 to 1.7 million over a 12 month period. The share of digital switches increased from 46% to 57%. This means digital channels such as price comparison websites are growing three times as fast as the total market.
While some traditional sales channels remain strong, both collective auctions and door-to-door have both declined significantly. The role of the energy provider has also been transformed. During the last three years the portion of switches generated by their customer service teams dropped from 23% to 16% with price comparison websites now generating half of all switches.
“It amazes me how many consumers have never switched or switched once and end up on a high-tariff after a year. One in every two households is on a variable tariff. This means that they are paying way too much for their energy and missing out on the opportunity to save a lot of money,” said David Tuohy the CEO of Connecthing.
Consumers are moving more and more to digital. In the UK we see multiple new auto-switcher concepts taking the market by storm. Independent intermediaries and handy apps are fueling disintermediation of the value chain. This may be relatively new for the energy sector but it has been going on for years in other sectors. Just look at Uber, Airbnb and Spotify to name but a few.
These are the perfect market conditions to launch an auto-saver. An innovative service that helps consumers save by automatically switching them to a new energy provider or getting them a better deal with their existing provider based on a set of personal preferences.
“This model has already proven itself in the UK. We believe there is space for multiple auto-servers in every market but only one can be the winner. Vanzelf is exactly what Dutch energy consumers has been waiting for. This heralds an exciting new phase for us as a company but also for the market,” said Herman Mantel, Director New Business and GM Connecthing Direct.
Connecthing has established relationships with most energy providers in the Netherlands and has been switching consumers and business customers via traditional sales channels for more than a decade via NutSelect. Vanzelf will leverage both partnerships and platform capabilities of the group to deliver an exciting new offering to both end customers and energy providers.
Breda, April 3 2020 – To accelerate new business initiatives both in and outside the Netherlands increased focus and organizational agility is essential.
Having finalized the Synnion integration and further consolidated NutSelect’s position as market leader the timing couldn’t be better. Today NutSelect’s digital market place provides most of the leading energy suppliers in the Netherlands access to a national network of hundreds of Third Party Intermediaries (TPI’s) across multiple sales channels.
According to findings of the Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) the number of switches in the Netherlands continues to increase. The number of digital switches is growing significantly faster than switches via traditional sales channels such as telemarketing and door-to-door. Consolidation and new regulatory developments are also createing new challenges for TPI’s. But these developments are also creating new opportunities for Connecthing, both in the Netherlands and other European energy markets.
“At the moment it’s all hands on deck with everybody working around the clock from home to support our TPI’s and energy suppliers during the Corona crisis. These are challenging times for all of us but if we want to be able to capitalize on these new opportunities we need to evolve. It starts with me devoting a lot more of my time to innovation and international expansion”, according to David Tuohy the CEO of Connecthing.
Late last year the company established Connecthing Direct, a new subsidiary focused on digital concepts. The company has been working in stealth mode on the first new concept, which will go live this quarter. In parallel potential acquisition opportunities in new markets are being actively explored. To create more focus and organization agility Connecthing has decided to change the leadership structure and focus the company around two business lines, namely New Business and NutSelect. All supporting activities and software development will be shared.
Herman Mantel the Commercial Director for TPI’s has been appointed to the new role of Director New Business. In addition he will also take on the role of General Manager for Connecthing Direct. Before joining Connecthing, Herman was the Chief Commercial Officer of the Telegraaf Media Group. He has a longstanding career in media and digital.
“We are working on some really exciting new concepts that have the potential to transform the business. I am looking forward to being able to devote more of my time to accelerate development and scale up these concepts”, said Herman Mantel.
Erik Verdam will continue as COO while taking on the role of General Manager for NutSelect. He will take over the responsibility for the day-to-day management of NutSelect from the CEO. Erik was the General Manager of Synnion before the company was acquired by Connecthing.
“We are committed to ensuring that the process of selecting, comparing and contracting with an energy supplier is a positive experience for all. The TPI, the energy supplier and of course the end customer. With CIRE becoming mandatory this month the next phase is going to be all about helping our partners improve quality and conversion rates. We have achieved a lot in the last 12 months but the next 12 months promise to be just as fulfilling,” said Erik Verdam.
“These changes will create more focus and organizational agility. We see lots of opportunities. I am really excited about leading the next phase of the company’s growth,” said David Tuohy.
Breda, January 30 2020 – The energy sector has chosen the board members for the organisation that manages the new Central Intermediary Register for Energy (CIRE). NutSelect’s Marco Siemelink has been appointed as vice-chair and secretary to the board.
Balanced and independent
The Supervisory Board of SITE (the Dutch association for integrity and transparency in energy advice) has opted for a four-person board plus an independent chair. Two members from energy suppliers and two members from distribution platforms that work closely with third party intermediaries (TPIs). “The Supervisory Board of SITE chose Prisca Ancion-Kors as chair. We wanted someone from outside the sector who could bring a fresh perspective to make self-regulation in the energy sector a success and to ensure independence. It is fantastic that someone with her experience is coming to strengthen the ranks,” said Patrick Jordens the spokesman for CIRE.
Marco Siemelink is a seasoned commercial manager who has been with the Connecthing Group for more than 7 years. He has played a pivotal role in shaping the business and growing NutSelect into what is today’s leading energy distribution platform in the Netherlands. “We are very proud that Marco was elected for the role by his peers. He eats, sleeps and drinks partnership which is one of our core values. He knows how to build bridges and has an deep understanding of the business challenges both on the supplier and TPI side. His expertise will help bring parties together – who compete with each other every day – in a collective effort to improve the energy market”, according to David Tuohy, CEO of Connecthing.
Connecthing is one of the founding fathers and a committed sponsor of the initiative. CIRE is open for registration to TPI’s that sell energy contracts to consumers and businesses. The goal is to ensure that the process of selecting, comparing and contracting with an energy supplier is a positive experience, and that dysfunctional TPI’s are driven out of the market. “We implemented the CIRE transparency quality mark as a compulsory requirement already in January. Before a TPI can complete the onboarding process and gain access to the NutSelect distribution platform they must be registered with CIRE”, said David Tuohy, CEO of Connecthing.
Connecthing’s commitment goes beyond Marco’s role in the board of CIRE. Erik Verdam, the COO and General Manager of NutSelect and David Tuohy will both continue to actively participate in the Supervisory Board. In addition a number of key personnel have also volunteered for various working groups and committees where CIRE needs experienced resources.
To see the full release from CIRE click here
Rotterdam, 7 October 2019 - Dutch energy sector launches register for third party intermediaries (TPI’s) that sell energy contracts to consumers and businesses. TPI’s that want to qualify for a transparency quality mark can register with the Central Intermediary Register for Energy (CIRE). The goal is to ensure that the process of selecting, comparing and contracting with an energy supplier is a positive experience, and that dysfunctional TPI’s are driven out of the market.
Quality mark backed by screening and code-of-conduct
The scheme, which goes into operation on 14 October, enables a TPI to register their business with CIRE. Next, CIRE checks whether the TPI is easy to identify, locate and establish contact. If they score sufficiently on these criteria, they receive a transparency quality mark. Holders of the quality mark are screened annually and monitored continuously. Failure to adhere to the quality mark requirements can lead to suspension. The holder must also comply with the CIRE Code of Conduct.
CIRE is a collective initiative of a large group of organisations in the Dutch energy sector. “As the owner of NutSelect – a leading energy distribution platform – we fully support CIRE,” said David Tuohy, CEO of the Connecthing Group. “We see the benefits not only for TPI’s and energy suppliers who are affiliated with us, but also for end customers. There is a need for more transparency and the CIRE quality mark will help achieve this.” The Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets said in a reaction: “We are enthusiastic about the initiative to improve the quality of customer acquisition in the energy market.”
In addition to NutSelect, the other participants are Essent, Eneco, Engie, Energiedirect.nl, de Nederlandse Energiemaatschappij, Oxxio, WoonEnergie, Total, Gazprom, Budget Energie, Consumind, Besparen Kan, Hof Promotion, Improvers, Minder.nl and Synnion. Collectively, these companies are working to set common standards for energy sales. The number of participants is expected to increase in the coming months.
For more information about CIRE please visit www.cire-register.nl
Addition of skilled software engineers will enable Connecthing to increase development velocity and maintain position as leading energy distribution platform.
As of 23 April 2019, SCHERP Ontwikkeling BV will become part of Connecthing. “We have known the company for a long time as a trusted supplier and development partner of Synnion. For some, this may be an unexpected acquisition, but for us it is a logical next step after the acquisition of Synnion. After all, SCHERP developed SalesView Pro, the system Synnion runs on”, according to David Tuohy, CEO of Connecthing.
With this acquisition important engineering competencies, knowledge and experience from the platform become an integral part of Connecthing. In addition, the company acquires valuable intellectual property such as Plexxer, an advanced cloud database management application. The development team will focus entirely on the further development and expansion of SalesView Pro. All other activities will be phased out.
With the help of data analytics, Connecthing wants to offer more insights to both energy suppliers and business partners. This will enable parties to develop new commercial propositions for new sales channels and customer journeys. But, equally important given the recent market developments, this will enable parties to focus more on quality and be more effective in reducing the number of switch related complaints and cancellations. Reliable data and insights are essential.
“Connecthing views quality as the key to an honest and customer oriented sales process. Something that ultimately benefits all; the energy supplier, the third-party intermediary and of course the end customer. If we want to stay ahead of our competitors we need to have the best distribution platform and this means a continued investment in IT combined with a proactive response to new legislation, ” according to Tuohy.
As of April 1, 2019, David Tuohy will be the driving force behind the integration, further professionalization and international expansion of the group.
After the integration of Nutselect in 2017, Connecthing has fully focused on the expansion of its e-commerce platform. With the recent acquisition of Synnion, the company has strengthened its position in the Netherlands in both the business and consumer markets. Connecthing now offers a marketplace that gives over 20 energy suppliers access to nearly 800 partners who sell energy contracts through different channels. The appointment of David Tuohy - veteran in the energy sector - underlines the ambitions of the company. Tuohy has more than 25 years of experience in several European countries. He has held managerial positions at companies active in the field of energy and telecommunications. He worked as a Senior Vice President and General Manager Europe at an American software company focused on data analytics for energy companies.
“We want to consolidate our position in the Netherlands, but we also see many opportunities abroad. That is why we are so happy with David's appointment. His network, experience and knowledge of both the traditional energy sector and new energy technologies are unparalleled,”acoording to Sietse de Wit founder and director of Connecthing.
The two-man management - Sietse de Wit and his partner Jasper de Vroome - transfer the management to Tuohy but remain actively involved. They will focus primarily on business development and will use their experience and knowledge to support expansion abroad.
“Sietse and Jasper are both driven entrepreneurs and have built a fantastic company. I am proud that I can take over the baton to determine the course for the next phase. I see many opportunities for the company. My goal is to expand Connecthing from being the market leader in the Netherlands to a fully-fledged European player and, if it's up to me, even a global player, ”according to David Tuohy, the new Connecthing CEO.
Amsterdam private equity investor Committed Capital has taken a significant stake in Connecthing, an energy platform operating in a market in which more than 1.2 million Dutch households switch energy supplier every year.
The company, based in Breda, operates the technology that enables customers to switch from one gas or electricity supplier to another. This market has grown steadily in recent years, but still offers plenty of potential for further growth, Committed Capital said.
Via the Connecthing platforms and those of Synnion, which Connecthing acquired recently, around 15 energy suppliers in the Netherlands can access some 1500 energy advisers. These advisers sell contracts to private individuals and business customers. Among the biggest participants are energy companies Essent, Eneco and Engie.
Until now, Connecthing was fully owned by a three-person management team comprising Jasper de Vroome, Sietse de Wit and Sjoerd Smit. Committed Capital’s purchase of a 50% stake in Connecthing is worth millions.
The highly profitable IT company has its roots in an energy consultancy, but has, in recent years, focused completely on building out its IT platform. The aim now is to accelerate product development, something the Synnion acquisition makes possible.
In addition to energy contracts, suppliers and advisers have the ambition to start selling sustainable energy products via digital platforms. These include heat pumps, charging stations and solar panels. The company also expects to grow through further acquisitions.
Connecthing, which employs 45 people, is also exploring growth opportunities in surrounding countries in which the energy markets are not yet as advanced as in the Netherlands. “We expect that further deregulation and increasing competition in Belgium, France and Germany will increase customers’ willingness to switch energy suppliers,” said Jasper de Vroome, director of the IT company.
The investment by Committed Capital comes from a fund originally worth some €22 million. It has invested about half of this in the last two years. The firm invests in companies worth between €5 million and €20 million and aims to double the value of its stake over the investment period. “With the recently completed acquisition of Synnion, we have already taken a major step in the desired direction,” noted Wai Ki Chiu, fund manager at Committed Capital.
Last summer, Committed Capital took a stake in Fyeo Medical, a Brabant eye clinic specialising in laser surgery and lens operations.