When Justin Segall co-founded Simple Energy in 2010, he did so with the vision to build a more sustainable future. This vision is fueled by motivating and enabling others to take action over their energy consumption.
Within less than a decade, the Colorado-based B Corporation has reached 50 million homes across North America through software designed to help consumers better understand their energy usage. And in July of 2019, Simple Energy merged with fellow Coloradan energy engagement company, Tendril, to become Uplight. Now, the company is closer than ever to achieving its ambitious goal of reaching 100 million households by 2024.
The Ups and Downs of Establishing a Legal Entity
Before Uplight became one of North America’s premier providers of clean energy solutions, Simple Energy had its sights set on expanding into the European market. In 2014, it established an entity in the UK, and hired an employee in Sweden in an effort to grow its regional presence—but this growth was not realized.
From the start, entity establishment presented the company with a number of complex challenges: licensing between entities, payroll management, tax complications, employee transfers, and more. In just 18 months, Simple Energy shuttered its UK entity.
The burdensome process of dissolving an entity leaves companies with lingering headaches caused by legal fees, consultant costs, and stretched resources. These challenges are all too common for companies aiming to expand into new markets. In The State of Global Expansion 2019 Report: Tech Industry, 38% of surveyed executives of US- and UK-based tech companies stated that they have pulled out of an international market.
Justin recently sat down with Ben Wright, Velocity Global Founder and CEO, for a conversation on Simple Energy’s experience when expanding overseas. They discussed the challenges Simple Energy faced, the fallout from its UK entity, and how, Justin believes, Velocity Global’s International PEO (Professional Employer Organization) solution can help other expanding startups and businesses achieve a successful global expansion.