Australian energy company Origin has acquired a 20% stake in Octopus Energy for £300 million, taking the value of the renewable energy challenger to over £1 billion.
As part of the deal, Origin will receive a license for Octopus Energy’s customer service and technology platform Kraken for use in its own retail energy business.
Octopus Chief executive Greg Jackson said the partnership with Origin would "help power our growth into new markets, build more tech to make energy greener, and increase our investment in service and growth in our existing markets (the UK and Germany)".
He also outlined plans for a multi-million investment in the Future Energy Research Centre. The centre will bring together academics, climate experts, data scientists, economists and policy specialists to "to devise plans and models to make net-zero faster and more affordable.”
"Octopus Energy will freely contribute our data and technology expertise to give these experts unique insight into how customers, networks and grids can contribute to a faster, more affordable transition to renewables,” he wrote in a blog post.
Octopus Energy has grown rapidly since its founding in 2015. It had just under 200,000 energy customers two years ago but had tripled its rolls by March 2019 and surpassed one million customers with its acquisition of Co-op Energy last summer. Octopus now has 1.5 million customers in the UK. It has also extended its tentacles abroad, snapping up German green, digital energy supplier 4hundred.
The Kraken platform is also used by a number of suppliers, including Good Energy, Co-op Energy, M&S Energy, Affect Energy and non-profit supplier London Power, to support a total of 17 million accounts.
And in March, Octopus inked a technology deal with E.ON, which will see E.ON and its acquisition Npower move their collective six million customers onto Kraken.
Jackson said he wanted to see 100 million customers worldwide being served by the Kraken platform. He said the investment from Origin had made Octopus into a unicorn, a company with a valuation of over £1 billion.
Octopus is one of a raft of green challengers vying with the Big Six suppliers that have traditionally dominated the British energy market. Earlier this year, OVO completed the acquisition of SSE’s retail supply business, becoming the second-largest energy supplier in the UK, after British Gas. Meanwhile, Bulb has grown its customer rolls to 1.6 million, up from just over 300,000 two years ago.
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