October 26 2015By Charlotte Knight
2014 NT100 winners Open Utility look back at the past year.
All over the world, digital technologies are changing the way we interact with each other. The internet, apps, online services and systems are making it easier to live - it’s easier to buy and sell, to communicate, work, explore, and to travel.
The annual Nominet Trust 100 celebrates the innovators and disruptors using digital technology to change the world for the better. Each year it showcases 100 of the world's most inspiring examples of social innovation, where digital tech has been used to tackle a significant social challenge.
As one of those named in the 2014 Nominet Trust 100, we’re in good company amongst other start-ups and entrepreneurs spread across the world. We were proud to be one of 20 London-based companies featured, sitting alongside other sustainability projects, including Restart Project, a start-up preventing waste by hosting recycling parties to fix up your old electronics and gadgets, and Casserole Club which encourages participants to share home-cooked food with their elderly neighbours, saving waste and improving community spirit.
Nearly one year on since being named, and Open Utility has had quite a year. We’ve grown from 6 to 10 employees, we’ve moved into the company’s first independent office space, and have partnered with Good Energy to launch Piclo, the UK’s first online peer-to-peer marketplace for renewable electricity. Piclo gives people a new way to buy and sell energy, giving consumers and generators direct access to each other. Both sides have more control, choice and transparency over their energy data than ever before. We’re carrying out a 6-month trial of the marketplace with 35 customers signed up, including Eden Project and National Trust.
Being part of the 2014 NT100 has opened doors for Open Utility and helped support the growth of Piclo. From the NT100 connections, we’ve been introduced to significant property owners with a renewable energy focus. A highlight of last year was pitching Open Utility to HRH, Duke of York, at a Nominet Trust celebratory event.
Thank you Nominet Trust - it’s been a privilege. And now, the team looks forward to seeing the fresh, new round of innovators that will be revealed this December. Technology is often cited as the answer to the worlds every problem, from climate change to poverty, hunger and illness. But technology alone won’t solve these problems - instead we need smart, thoughtful and considerate people to employ the technology in creative and imaginative ways. This is why we need Tech for Good companies - to galvanise such people into brilliant teams, whose focus is not simply the bottom line.
Nominations for the NT100 have now closed. Facebook, Salesforce, Telefonica (O2), Oxfam, Comic Relief, the Big Lottery Fund and Creative England are among those on the judging panel for this year’s NT100. The 2015 NT100 will be announced in early December.