In 2004, Alan Foy’s friends suspected a mid-life crisis when he decided to quit his senior role at Scottish Power, remortgage his house and buy into a fledgling utilities connection business, which eventually became Smart Metering Systems (SMS). He even sold his car to commit the cash.
But what others saw as a moment of madness, entrepreneur Foy saw as his opportunity to establish a new kind of business. “When I joined, we decided to change the model completely. Competition had just been introduced into the utilities industry. We decided to turn a utilities construction business into an asset-owning metering business. We were able to build off our existing client base. We invested more of our own cash into developing IT systems and to fund metering assets.”
Foy continues: “We grew steadily, as fast as we could with the cash we were generating from the business. By 2008, we were growing too fast to fund the business with existing cash, so we borrowed £2.5m to invest further.”