Jordan Brompton, co-founder and CMO of myenergi, was recently spotlighted in The Successful Founder and spoke with them about myenergi and how we came to be.
myenergi is one of the world’s fastest-growing eco tech firms. We’re best known for designing zappi – the first ever EV charger capable of using 100% renewable energy. Zero fossil fuels, zero reliance on the grid, zero emissions travel.
We founded the business in 2016 with nothing – apart from a few good ideas and a serious passion for change. Despite suffering countless setbacks, demand has boomed.
Indeed, we’ve grown rapidly from a handful of staff manufacturing products by hand in a countryside workshop, to a workforce of more than 400, operating from a state-of-the-art facility in Stallingborough, with subsidiaries opened in Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia along the way.
As CMO, I’m responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the sales and marketing divisions, driving business growth and spearheading corporate collaborations.
How did the idea come to you for the company?
Rather than a fairytale story dreamt up in a shiny glass city-centre skyscraper, the idea behind myenergi came from a conversation over a bottle of wine. We couldn’t understand why there wasn’t a way for EV drivers to charge their cars via solar panels, so decided to create our own pioneering product.
Was it possible? Was it practical? Were there hundreds of zero-emission motorists out there all feeling the same way? Rather than undertaking years of market research and spending millions of dollars on focus groups, we went on Google.
We couldn’t find any competitor products past the end of page two, so had the madcap idea of teaming up to solve the problem – based on nothing more than gut feel alone.
How did you achieve awareness?
When we founded myenergi, I wanted to build a company that consumers really bought into. Rather than a faceless corporation with great products but no character, I wanted the market to see that we were different – a passionate team, committed to sustainability, fuelled by innovation and intent on delighting our customers.
But with limited marketing budget, we had to think outside the box. We used social media to celebrate our successes, we went to trade events and showcased our product developments, we used our black book of contacts to get wholesalers on board and we physically knocked on doors to have our voices heard.
As the business grew, so did our brand. We were soon invited to join panel discussions about the future of energy, we were asked to be guests on podcasts about start-up businesses, we got ourselves involved in webinars about the future of tech and we visited as many events as we could to shout about what made us different.
Defying convention, we communicated openly. We told the market everything – our successes, our challenges and our aspirations. We told them about our breakthroughs and we told them when we fell short. In essence, we brought them on the journey with us.
While wearing your heart on your sleeve may sound pretty terrifying, it really worked. Rather than customers, we built advocates.
How have you been able to gain funding and grow?
Having started the business with nothing except for our life savings, finances have always been tight. The first product prototype took almost a year to develop and, by this point, our money had all but run out.
To keep our dream alive, we ran a crowdfunding round online. We needed £40,000 to keep afloat but raised just £10,000. By this point, the future seemed pretty bleak. We were out of money and we were running out of time.
We believed in what we were trying to achieve, but needed a miracle to take things to the next level.
The picture changed when we met TV personality Robert Llewellyn at a trade event in Orkney. He was filming an episode for his EV YouTube Channel and loved our product. He featured us (which you can watch here!) and – from that day on – the phone began to ring.
We were growing organically, but progress was slow. We needed a significant capital injection to take things to the next level and so set about building a network of possible investors.
Thanks to growing interest and our entrepreneurial spirit, we started to catch the attention of the finance community. Experienced financiers Sir Terry Leahy and Bill Currie were blown away by our story and we were invited to their Liverpool offices to pitch our case.
The rest, as they say, is history.
We gave the pitch of our lives and, right there, on the spot, were offered a £1.8m investment – it felt like Dragon’s Den! I realised, almost immediately, that what we were doing wasn’t just a clever idea, but a business opportunity that had the legs to go global.
What are the key successes?
It might sound cliché, but our story has been somewhat of a whirlwind. Since landing funding, we’ve grown from a team of two to staff numbers in excess of 400. There are now more than 3,000 approved zappi installers in the UK alone, while more than 400,000 myenergi products have been shipped worldwide.
Over the past three years, we’ve experienced an average annual growth of more than 180%, and we’re already targeting both new market entry and new product development.
What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?
While every day of the myenergi journey has been an exciting adventure, we’ve experienced so many ups and downs along the way. Being an entrepreneur and doing what you love is tough. It’s competitive, it’s challenging, it’s cruel and sometimes it feels like everything wants you to fail.
We’ve been through the rollercoaster of Brexit, component shortages and the pandemic – all in the first five years of our journey – not to mention the premature birth of my daughter. But we’ve taken risks, overcome obstacles and learnt from our mistakes.
Through it all, however, perseverance and a desire to be successful have seen us come out stronger than ever
What are your plans now/for the future?
It’s fair to say that we have big plans. We’re all set to further increase our manufacturing capacity and we’ll be completing our brand new 60,000 sq ft factory at our site in Stallingborough later this year. We’re also investing heavily in developing new products – having recently launched our libbi smart battery.
Our continued growth really excites me. We’re targeting new markets, we’re experiencing huge demand for our products and we’re quickly becoming a household name. In the future, I’d love to see more people using our products to decarbonise their homes, becoming totally energy independent and giving back to the environment.
When it comes to electric vehicle charging, we’re very quickly moving from early adoption to the mass market/majority stages. People love our products and get hooked on our software. I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved and want to help more people live with less reliance on the grid.
What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?
While I’ll always fly the flag for entrepreneurship, it’s important to be prepared and not to underestimate the monumental challenges of starting your own business. If you go in with the right attitude – to be persistent, to be committed, to expect failure and to never give up – you won’t be disappointed.
Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?
I see so many inexperienced entrepreneurs trying to manage every element of their business, attempting to keep control and tripping over in result. It takes self-reflection and maturity to understand your weaknesses, but pays dividends to bring in the right people to support you.
Even if you can’t necessarily afford it, start looking to recruit a team that can pick up the areas in which you’re less strong and enable you to focus on your strengths. Otherwise, your business is likely to remain stationary.
It’s also important not to let the process overwhelm you. I can’t remember who told me this, but the phrase “worry about it when it happens” has got me through no end of challenging situations. When I start worrying about things that I can’t control, it really does set me on the straight and narrow.
Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most and why?
I admire so many different people for so many different reasons. My business partner Lee is obviously an inspiration – I’ve worked with him for years and watched his incredible journey first-hand.
When it comes to household names, Elon Musk spring to mind. He challenges convention, he solves problems, he takes risks and has invested almost his entire net worth into making the planet a better place.
Elsewhere, I really admire the female leaders operating at the forefront of electrification and the renewable energy space. Juliet Davenport at Good Energy, Avril Palmer-Baunack at BCA and Fiona Howarth at Octopus Electric Vehicles are just a few examples of inspiring women changing the face of the sector for the better.
If you’d like to see Jordan’s spotlight on The Successful Founder, click here.