As the commercial said: small but strong! Although the young company Hydroption was launched in Toulon in 2015 by Michel de Keréver, it has since experienced a strong rise and strong growth in turnover.
At the time, its creator, an energy expert, took advantage of the opening of the electricity markets in France. The principle: Hydroption buys back the production of small photovoltaic installations to sell them to professionals (hospitals, small and medium-sized businesses, supermarkets, etc.) and lower regulated sales prices.
From 2015 to 2017, it grew from €7 million in revenue to €15 million and supplies around 500 professional customers. This is already a great success. But in the summer of 2017, the company seized a golden opportunity.
The City of Paris is launching a public call for tenders to supply electricity to its 1677 public buildings (crèches, town halls, museums, etc.) on 1 January 2018 and it is the Toulon-based company that wins the contract from among some fifteen candidates in the running.
A 65 MILLION EURO CONTRACT WITH THE CITY OF PARIS
With the signing of this €65 million contract, the number of professional customers has risen to 3,000 and above all the “small” company announces the development in the South of France of its Électricité de Provence brand, this time for individuals and small businesses. “This is very good news. We are very small but this two-year renewable contract with the city of Paris gives us a little visibility and financial balance,” acknowledges Michel de Keréver. 2018 will be a pivotal year for us, partly thanks to this market.”
Indeed, the entrepreneur has revised his business plan upwards. It expects to achieve a turnover of around €50 million in 2018 and aims for €115 million in 2019. To this end, it intends to strengthen its capital in spring 2018 and organize a new fundraising campaign to develop its Électricité de Provence brand, this time for individuals and small businesses.
“WE ARE A DWARF IN THIS MARKET…”
“Last summer, we decided to launch this brand to establish ourselves locally. At present, there is no independent renewable electricity supplier in the PACA region. In France, this market represents 33 million meters, it is a huge and very competitive market. We are a dwarf in this market, but our ambitions are local. I have a strong belief in the renewable energy produced near us,” explains this CEO.
HYDROELECTRIC AND LOCAL GREEN ENERGY
Électricité de Provence thus promises its future customers a 10% saving on the consumption of renewable electricity purchased from a hydroelectric power plant located in the Var valley, behind Nice. “In this market, there is room for everyone,” says Michel de Keréver. Our positioning is green, hydroelectric power, which does not pollute. We are not low-costs, we are playing the local card, with renewable energy produced near us, interesting offers and customer service based in Toulon.”
LOCAL CUSTOMER SERVICE
This is not an offshore call center. The team responds to customers from the company’s headquarters, located in the heart of the city, rue Racine, opposite the opera house. “It’s a human-scale customer service. We try to be flexible, understanding and find solutions for everyone. At the moment, we have three people to take care of the customers. We hope to reach 10,000 customers by the end of the year and ideally 50,000 customers by the end of 2019. This is ambitious, but in the PACA region, there are 5 to 6 million meters. After that, it is necessary to manage invoices and unpaid bills. This is a more difficult sector than professional accounts, but we are willing to get involved locally, to provide a local service.”
And if the objectives are met, in 2019, new recruitments will be needed to develop this service and expand the IT part. “This is the challenge of the year, the development of this local brand.”
Already, thanks to the comparators that place Electricité de Provence among the interesting offers, individuals and small SMEs have already made this choice of a tailor-made service.
Hydroption, supported by the Public Investment Bank and accompanied by the Var Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has matured. “We had a nice walk. We have a young and dynamic team that is giving its all to develop this beautiful project. With green electricity, everyone wins and it creates jobs”, says Michel de Keréver.
The company is already recruiting on its hydroption.com website, executive profiles in IT, mathematics….
Spontaneous applications are also welcome.
Information. on hydroption.com and electricite-de-provence.com
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