Future looking bright for Musselburgh water start-up

Brightwater co-founders Rich Rankin, left, and Roger Green. Picture: Neil Hanna
Brightwater co-founders Rich Rankin, left, and Roger Green. Picture: Neil Hanna
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A water provider start-up based in Musselburgh has detailed plans to grow turnover to £15 million in five years after celebrating a “successful” first year in business.

Brightwater won its initial customers in May 2016, and said it has to-date secured supply contracts with an annual value of more than £1.3 million across in excess of 800 sites.

This corresponds to about 600 customers, some of whom have multiple premises across Scotland, managing director Rich Rankin told The Scotsman. He said it has been a good year, and while there have been some hurdles, “the last three to six months have been fantastic”.

Digital marketing specialist Rankin founded the utility firm with entrepreneur Roger Green to support SMEs in Scotland in sectors like retail, professional services, tourism and hospitality.

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Brightwater’s business model is based on delivering cost savings of more than £1m in its first three years through competitive pricing, providing water efficiency advice to encourage businesses to use 10 per cent less water.

Chief executive Green said: “We are delighted with how the business has grown over our first year of operations as we are breaking into a heavily regulated market dominated by large corporates.”

He said that Brightwater is building up a “loyal” customer base, and in February appointed Steve Langmead, who has held senior roles in Scotland at the likes of Atos, Capita and Visitscotland.com, to the role of chairman. Green said Langmead’s background “will help us achieve our ambition to establish Brightwater as one of Scotland’s leading retailers in the water industry”.

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As for how the firm’s bid to compete with larger players is faring, Rankin added: “It’s going well – it’s always a challenge as a new entrant… but we’re young, we’re hungry and we place a lot of emphasis on customer support and accuracy.”

He said the company aims to establish itself in Scotland over the next two to three years, and is looking to move into England thereafter.

“We’ve got some aspirations that over the next, say, two years, we’re looking to grow by about 3,500 to 4,000 more premises. Our ambition would be we would like to grow to at least 5 per cent of the [Scottish] market,” Rankin said, looking ahead three to five years, with a sales target of about £15m.

“Whilst we would love to gain that sort of turnover quickly, realistically we want to grow at a rate we can manage comfortably.”

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