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‘Energy needed a digital revolution – and we are it’

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January 02, 2021 at 04:00PM

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Greg Jackson, boss of Octopus Energy, says the sector was ripe for an Amazon or Uber-style disruptor, but that his version will also boost the UK’s green revolution

Greg Jackson, chief executive of Octopus Energy, wears the unassuming combination of jeans and trainers one might expect from the founder of a wildly successful startup. There’s also a vast open-plan central London office, easy camaraderie with staff, lots of plants. He has the enthusiasm and world-changing idealism too. With all these markers of a tech unicorn – a deal last month with Tokyo Gas valued it at $2bn (£1.5bn) – it’s easy to forget that Octopus is an energy company. Jackson, 49, says the distinction is increasingly irrelevant.

Octopus is a new breed of energy supplier, built on cutting-edge technology and unencumbered by the creaking billing systems and fossil-fuel plants that plague the UK’s “big six”. Set up just five years ago, it has been free to view the energy market as a tech startup would: ripe for disruption. This has made Octopus Britain’s fastest-growing energy supplier, and helped it agree that Japanese deal – under which it will supply energy to homes in Japan, while Tokyo Gas takes a near-10% stake in Octopus.

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