Magazine article Management Today

How I Beat the Odds: Sara Bell, CEO, Tempus Energy

Magazine article Management Today

How I Beat the Odds: Sara Bell, CEO, Tempus Energy

Article excerpt

I've always been an outsider.

My family moved to Sweden when I was a baby. By the time we moved back to Reading, I was 11 - and Swedish. My school bus journeys were punctuated by cries of 'go home bloody foreigner'. I soon learned I would never fit in, but I could at least appear to.

After seven years working as a financial services risk professional in Australia, I started my first business, a magazine for intelligent women. It only lasted six months. It failed because once my bank account got below pounds 500, the risk got to me. Instead of building the business, I spent my time worrying about how to pay for it.

Though the magazine was never insolvent, I was heavily indebted, so I returned to financial services, this time in Hong Kong. I'd soon paid back every creditor, but was itching to run my own business again.

I moved back to Britain and decided to get into the energy sector Climate change is almost like a religion, and like most Swedes, I'm a believer. While technology had transformed other industries, the energy sector remained essentially the same as it was in 1980. I set up Tempus three years ago to change that by applying lessons from financial risk analysis.

Suppliers can't predict the demand for electricity exactly, so they charge a risk premium to keep the lights on if demand surges. The resulting oversupply costs pounds 4bn to pounds 6bn a year. Our system uses technology such as smart boilers to regulate demand instead, eliminating the premium. …

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