12 Echo Group
Erik Zimmerman (49), Ben Wright (37)
- Head office
Founder of Echo Group Erik Zimmerman was an executive at one of Australia’s big four banks before seeing an opportunity to create Australia’s first solar bulk buy company, which was later acquired by energy giant AGL.
Determined to keep advancing Australia’s push towards energy efficiency, Zimmerman teamed up with fellow co-founder Ben Wright to start energy efficiency and renewable energy company Echo Group, which is fixated on power bill relief.
Although it was launched just five years ago, Echo Group boasts a turnover of $25 million and a three-year growth rate of 203%. Zimmerman tells SmartCompany the early days of the business were by far the hardest for the company, with Echo Group having to fight for a spot in the competitive and developing LED lighting market.
“LED was an emerging technology that became very popular very quickly.
“As with popular new technologies, it grew competitive with many new players entering the market in a short space of time,” he says.
The business has also been subject to the whim and influence of the federal government and its policies on energy efficiency, with the founders saying the release of the Finkel review last year was a momentous time for the business.
Similarly, the founders worry multiple changes in government could negatively affect the energy efficiency industry, and therefore their business, and lament that constant uncertainty and postponing of discussions about energy policy leaves businesses like theirs with an unsure future.