The next generation energy startup Barry has readied themselves to enter the Danish market. The startup is hoping to make sustainable energy relevant for millenials by winning them over with a mix of transparency and digital products.

For most people, the interaction with their electricity company is limited to reading their meters on a yearly basis. The Finnish energy-startup Barry that exclusively sells sustainable energy wants to change that.

Rami Piik

“We know that a lot of people thinks that electricity is obscure. It is complex, boring – in order to understand your bill you need customer service on the line. There is no relationship between supplier and customer. We want to make it easier, more fun and way more transparent,” says Rami Piik, who is the director at Barry.

Traditionally, many electricity suppliers score low on credibility among customers. According to Rami Piik, The strained relationship is caused by the fact that as a customer it is hard to find out, what you are paying for. This is why Barry chose to approach the Danish market with openness, self-irony and humour.

“Our communication is going to be human – we want to be as fair and honest as possible. Subsequently, our terms are short and easily understood, and there is no fixation in the contract or fees to stop the subscription,” he says.

Barry does not produce electricity or own any of the relevant infrastructures instead they exclusively sell the electricity. Therefore the most important KPIs for the startup are customer satisfaction and experience.

“We believe that there is room to improve the user experience. That is why we want to create a mobile-first product for the modern consumer,” says Rami Piik.

As of now, he does now want to disclose specifics as to which digital experiences the startup is developing, but instead, he underlines the company’s digital focus with the fact that most of the current employees are developers.

Internal startup: An agile player in the economies of scale

Barry is owned by the Finnish energy conglomerate Fortum and that makes it an internal startup. And the fact that they are not an ordinary startup or a classic electricity supplier is a huge boon for the incumbent according to Rami Piik.

“We have been tasked to disrupt Fortums own business. That is why we function as an external startup without top-down management and our job is to run Barry as if it were an entity in and of itself,” Says Rami Piik.

Instead, Barry’s performance is evaluated by a “growth board” – a construct that could be compared to a venture capital company’s relationship with a startup they invested in. This effort means that Barry has the agility of a startup, but at the same time has access to legal and economic support from the parent company. That combination should secure innovation.

“Normally, when you try to innovate existing products you change them incrementally. Our competitors have legacy systems and thinking, which are not easy to change. That is where we are fundamentally different. We began at the beginning, but we have a lot of available resources and in that regard, we have the best of two worlds,” says Rami Piik.

The Finnish conglomerate has some experience with the model. Barry is their fifth internal startup, and they aim to have several more internal startups by 2020 so that disruption comes from within the company and not from competitors.

Ambitious growth target in Denmark

While Barry’s parent company is Finnish they are launching their new service on the Danish market first in the first half of 2018. Barry expects to get off to a good start and are very ambitious about recruiting several thousand Danish users by the fall.

But in order to reach that ambitious target, Barry is looking for a Chief Marketing Officer or a growth hacker, who has experience in scaling and recruiting a customer database in a short time.

In Denmark, the DataHub for electricity is located and operated Energinet. The hub makes it easier for new players to enter the market. But the Danish market is also attractive to Barry for other reasons.

“There is less competition in Denmark compared to other countries in Scandinavia. That is why we are launching our MVP soon to gather Danish market experience and data. That does not mean that it will be easy. That is why we are looking for the best candidates with experience in growing a user database – fast – to fill the position as CMO,” says Rami Piik.

“We will continue to look for the right candidate in order to reach our goal and scale our solution to new markets,” he says and adds that they will probably expand south once they have found their product/market-fit in Denmark – and the right person for the job.