Business Rising Star | Martin Dix of Current Cost

Electrical engineer Martin Dix had the bright idea for his energy-monitoring device Current Cost after wondering how much usage a 100-Watt light bulb represented in cash. Launched in 2006, his company is now worth £6 million.

How did you develop the product?

I built a shed prototype. All my savings went on a trip to China, to research the production costs, which I had to make as cheap as possible for my suppliers. When Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) became interested, they gave us £250,000 in funding.

How did you attract interest?

I just knocked on a lot of doors and was lucky to find a partner with SSE. Before they even finished the trial, they rolled out a substantial follow-up order. We’ve now sold more than half a million units through the utility companies.

How have you marketed it?

Mainly by approaching utility companies who use it as a way of improving customer retention. Retail is not appealing at the moment, as we would only be hitting people already interested in green issues – so it wouldn’t be as effective at improving energy efficiency.

Who else uses it?

We’ve had orders from large companies like Honda who have a corporate social responsibility agenda. Schools are also interested and we’ve sold them to libraries that offer them out on loan like a book.

Where next?

We are looking at expanding into the US market, and we’re already set to expand into Europe. But I have to say, the UK seems to be way ahead of other countries in terms of interest in energy efficiency.

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