Bulb Energy Ltd., trading as Bulb, is an energy supply company in the United Kingdom. Founded in 2013, the company attracted venture capital from DST Global and Magnetar Capital, and ran at a financial loss while achieving rapid growth in customers. Bulb claimed to provide electricity and gas from renewable or off-set sources. As of November 2021, it had a share of approximately 5-6% of the UK energy market and was considered the seventh largest in the country.
In September 2021, the company sought a bailout due to financial problems caused by increasing natural gas prices. It was placed into Energy Supply Company Administration (a special administration regime) by Ofgem on 24 November 2021 following a refusal by investors to provide further funding. While customers of other failed suppliers have been transferred by Ofgem to new suppliers, the regulator decided Bulb was too large and so it became the first energy company in the UK to enter special administration. This process will allow the government the option to make grants and loans to the business, while the administrators work to transfer customers and sell the business in parts or in full.
Bulb Energy Ltd. was incorporated in April 2013 under the name Regent Power Ltd., and was known as Hanbury Energy Ltd. between June and October 2015. Its parent company is Simple Energy. Since it began trading, the directors have been Amit Gudka, a former energy market trader for Barclays, and Hayden Wood, a former management consultant. Gudka stepped down from day to day activities at Bulb in February 2021 to focus on his new battery storage startup.
Initial funding came from the founders’ savings and from their personal contacts. Backing was then obtained from JamJar Investments. In August 2018 a further £60 million funding was secured from two backers: DST Global (owned by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner), and US hedge fund Magnetar Capital. By 2018, the company was worth between £400M and £500M.
Growth was rapid from the start of 2017, and by early March 2019 the company had over 1 million customers and was employing over 550 staff. Its headquarters moved in February 2019 from offices at Hanbury Street, Shoreditch to Bishopsgate in the City of London.
In 2018, Bulb was the UK’s largest renewable energy supplier, and the UK’s seventh largest energy supplier, smaller only than the “Big Six“. It is the only company to achieve this growth without taking over other companies, as rival companies have done.SyndicateRoom identified Bulb as the UK’s fastest-growing private company of 2018.