Rotterdam, 7 October 2019 - Dutch energy sector launches register for third party intermediaries (TPI’s) that sell energy contracts to consumers and companies. 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 poor performing TPI’s are driven out of the market.
Quality mark backed by a screening and behavioural code
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 highly on these criteria, they receive a transparency quality mark. Holders of the quality mark are screened annually and monitored continuously, and 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 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 transparency mark will help with 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.”
As well as 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 and the number of participants is likely 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.