The brains behind uSwitch.com: Introducing George Mountbatten, 4th Marquess of Milford Haven
George Ivar Louis Mountbatten was born on 6th June 1961, the future Marquess of Milford Haven, and the mind behind one of the most important internet price comparison sites in the UK – uSwitch.com.
His beginnings were hardly humble. Born into the storied house of Mountbatten, the soon-to-be 4th Marquess of Milford Haven was cousin to the Queen and descended from some of the most prominent peers amongst the English aristocracy.
The 4th Marquess of Milford Haven began his most successful venture in the year 2000 – with the newly deregulated energy market, he spotted a niche just waiting to be filled: a need for a tool that would allow consumers to make informed choices about which energy deals were best suited to their needs.
An online platform seemed to offer the ideal solution. With different providers quoting hugely different prices to one another, he realised that it would be invaluable if he were to make a website that listed quotes one beside the other, so that the rigmarole of ringing around was no longer a necessity.
The idea was popular with consumers. Recognising that it placed the power in their hands rather than the greedy grasp of energy companies, they began to vote with their feet, turning to those who offered them the fairest prices, with uSwitch.com acting as a medium to inform their choices.
The company the Marquess of Milford Haven had built was able to expand at an astonishing rate, soon widening its reach to encompass credit card, loan, and telephony comparisons too.
As George Mountbatten explained, the reason for its success was a simple one: “The wonderful thing about uSwitch is we make money by saving people money.” It was a benevolent principle upon which to work, and this was something that its users fully appreciated.
They embraced not only the concept behind it, but also the many benefits it offered them: not least, an average saving of around £140 per year, at no cost to the ordinary man or woman.
Unsurprisingly, its popularity and profitability ensured that uSwitch.com made a name for itself, and soon gained the attention of others. By the time it was placed on the market in 2006, it naturally had a surplus of would-be buyers, all eager to place a bid on it.
Amongst these was the enterprise’s eventual purchaser, an American media firm known as EW Scripps. Offering a record sum of £210 million, they bought the business, and in doing so, delivered its founder and primary shareholder, the Marquess of Milford Haven, a substantial profit.
This was not merely a financial success, but a symbolic one. Marking the ever-growing potential of online enterprises, it showed just what George Mountbatten was capable of achieving.