iSupply Case Study

Introduction & Background

Incorporated in 2007, iSupply Energy was a small independent firm and the brainchild of long-term business partners, Rob Gildert and Roy Richmond.

Inspire were brought on board from the outset, advising Rob and Roy on their entrepreneurial journey with the ultimate aim to grow the business exponentially so that they could secure a successful and profitable sale.

When the decision was made to exit the business, Inspire provided Rob and Roy with highly focused business advice, working hand-in-hand with them to seek further, outsourced funding, knowing that they would shortly follow with a successful exit of the business.

Consequently, in 2017 iSupply Energy was purchased by European gas and electricity giant, Vattenfall, a Swedish state-owned company with over 7 million customers and ten UK wind farms in the UK over the last 10 years.

The international deal is significant for the Dorset area and is Inspire’s largest project to date.

How We Helped

Using our unique hands-on and empathetic approach, we assisted Rob and Roy with corporate finance and tax advisory support from the inception of the business, helping to develop iSupply from 16 employees to over 170 individuals, and eventually securing a successful acquisition by Swedish energy giant, Vattenfall.

With the big six energy suppliers providing a huge degree of competition and pressure from the outset, and with the industry being notoriously complicated, our support had to be incredibly practical and proactive – we wanted iSupply to not just survive, but thrive.

This meant sitting down with Rob and Roy on a regular one-to-one basis so that we could intrinsically understand their business, where they fitted in the energy industry, and ultimately where they wanted it to go.

When the decision was made to exit the business, we performed our unique and detailed Strategic Review and consequently set out a comprehensive strategic plan that would see iSupply exit the business within a period of six months.

Knowing that there were much larger international firms interested in the deal, we invested extra support, money and time into the project, and are proud to have secured a significant transaction.

Because Vattenfall is a state-owned company, we needed to re-evaluate our approach and adapt it to suit the pace and tone of the transaction. The challenge was to keep the momentum of the sale moving forward, as we quickly recognised that dealing with a large corporate organisation is a much slower process than a nimble entrepreneurial business.

During the discussions Vattenfall’s team included 30 people sat on the other side of the desk from Inspire, namely Vattenfall’s lawyers, accountants and stakeholders. Conversely, the Inspire team ratio was 1 to their 6, which meant we needed to communicate efficiently and confidently. Staying ahead of the game and being prepared for every scenario was absolutely vital.

We created a core project management team specifically for the project; each were allocated stakeholders to manage and also set tasks to achieve to keep the project on track in terms of the timeline.

This was a challenging process for the owners of iSupply, Rob and Roy, so we worked hard to support them. This was achieved through regular meetings and also through a task management system that was regularly reviewed.

Inspire continue to support Rob and Roy in their ongoing roles within the business.

Having supported Rob and Roy since the conception of the business, we were professionally and personally invested in the success of the transaction.

In Summary

In just five years, we’ve helped this local entrepreneurial company grow from just a handful of employees to a 170-strong team with more than 120,000 gas and electricity customers, so we were determined to secure an exceptional result not just for Rob and Roy, but for all of iSupply’s employees.

Despite the complex nature of the transaction and the issues that arose, our commitment and camaraderie kept us motivated and focused to ensure we maximised iSupply’s commercial and legal interests without compromising their relationship with their new employers.

Now a subsidiary of Vattenfall, iSupply’s 170 employees and gas and electricity customers have been unaffected by the acquisition, owing to our focus on not just the transaction, but the people involved.

Vattenfall’s entry into the UK energy market is an exciting development and gives the Swedish giant a foothold in the UK market, not to mention the potential to challenge the Big Six energy suppliers. We’re incredibly proud of our significant part in this success and we continue to support Rob and Roy’s roles within the new business.

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