George Mountbatten, 4th Marquess of Milford Haven and cousin to the Queen of England, is a perfect example of the modern aristocracy. Not only is he a family man, the image of the English gentleman but he is also a keen businessman. Few know of his fascinating connection with a household name – uSwitch. But the George Mountbatten – uSwitch is a fascinating one as he is one of the co-founders of the company.
The Mountbatten family has its own place in history. The roots of the family come from Europe and the German Royal Battenberg family. They took the name Mountbatten during World War I when the anti-German feeling was strong among the British people. Since then, the family has become known throughout the country through its close association with the House of Windsor and the Royal Family.
George Ivar Louis Mountbatten is the 4th Marquess of Milford Haven. He is the oldest son of the David Mountbatten, 3rd Marquess of Milford Haven, himself the older brother of Lord Ivar Mountbatten. The family is a direct descendant of Catherine the Great through his paternal grandmother as well as from Peter the Great’s general, Abram Petrovitch Gannibal and Russian writer Alexander Pushkin.
He is also in the line of succession for the British throne due to another descendant, Princess Alice, the 2nd daughter of Queen Victoria. This means George Mountbatten is a cousin of Queen Elizabeth.
George Mountbatten, the man
George Mountbatten has been married twice and has two children, Lady Tatiana Helen Georgia Mountbatten andHenry David Louis Mountbatten, Earl of Medina – normally known as Harry.
Aside from being a family man, George Mountbatten is also a keen polo player. In fact, he is the person behind the creation of one of the largest polo yards in the country which is the base for four high-goal teams including his own Broncos team. Trippetts Farm houses 350 ponies, has 26 paddocks for them to exercise and employs up to 70 grooms to care for them.
Trippetts Farm began life as a dairy farm when the marquess purchased it in 2005. The 1,000-acre site needed some work (after the cows were removed, of course) and the renovations involved a number of innovations that aimed to create the facilities required while also leaving the stunning Sussex countryside as untouched as possible.
The work at Trippetts Farm has helped boost polo around the country and spread its appeal further afield. It is also a great example of the synergy between sport and business with the urge to do well in a sport also leading solid business practices.
Aside from his impressive heritage and work with the sport of polo, George Mountbatten is also one of the people behind the energy comparison website uSwitch – a fact not widely known.
Back in 2000, energy deregulation had taken place and there was much wider scope for an open and fair market for consumers. George Mountbatten teamed with a former PricewaterhouseCoopers financier named Andrew Salmon to work on a project that would allow consumers to quickly and easily compare prices between suppliers.
The idea was simple – people could sit at home on their computers, put in a few simple details and receive a personalized quote for their power needs. Because uSwitch wasn’t affiliated with any particular company and didn’t take advertising for any one brand over another, the information was neutral and accurate. There were no worries about ’price fixing’ or companies not offering their best price. The direct comparison meant they couldn’t afford to do this and had to offer their best price to increase the chance of gaining the customer.
The uSwitch effect
uSwitch became even more prominent when in 2005, households began to see rocketing prices for their gas and electricity. The initial aim of the website became even more crucial as people began to struggle to manage to pay their gas and particular electricity bills. There was a general lack of understanding of tariffs, how to switch supplier and even how to go about obtaining a price.
The website helped to change that and to begin the culture of informed shopping around that we have today. By offering impartial prices for the customer to consider, uSwitch opened the way for many more comparison websites for everything from insurance to grocery shopping.
The uSwitch sale
In 2006, the marquess and Andrew Salmon were approached by an American regional newspaper firm called EW Scripps who were eager to purchase uSwitch, recognizing the change it was already creating. The sale went through for a figure in the region of £200 million with George Mountbatten said to have received around half as the 50% shareholder.
The company continued to prosper and added other avenues to its comparison features including mortgages, car, home, health and life insurance as well as credit cards, loans and even mobile phone deals. In 2015, it was sold again to Zoopla for around £190 million. The company is now widely seen advertising on the TV alongside other giants of the comparison world.
George Mountbatten is a perfect example of the modern marquess. His retains his strong family connections and helps to develop his passions for others. And his position as an accomplished businessman with his success at uSwitch is something that many an entrepreneur would love to emulate.