direct energy innovation to innovation

The Direct Energy iTOi Tour Visits the Zyprme’s Energy Thought Summit (ETS) in Austin

The second leg of the Direct Energy Innovation to Inspiration (iTOi) tour began at Zyprme’s Energy Thought Summit (ETS) in Austin, Texas. ETS kicked-off on Tuesday evening with a happy hour hosted on our very own mobile exhibit located near the conference and event center. The Direct Energy iTOi exhibit had visitors that evening from national media and energy professionals to Founders/CEOs of some of energy’s most exciting start-up companies.

The momentum continued on day two of the event with keynote remarks from Direct Energy CEO Badar Khan at the 10 o’clock session on “The Future of Energy.” The audience was made up of energy professionals and industry thought leaders. The talk transitioned into a Q&A discussion lead by Zyprme President and conference host Andrew Johnston. After his session, eight new start-up founders/executives approached Khan directly with business cards eager to continue the conversation about new business initiatives, referrals and possible partnership opportunities. Event organizers said Khan’s session was one of the most attended sessions throughout the three day event and noted that the online event simulcast crashed during Khan’s keynote, because his session exceeded 2k capacity (a good problem to have)! For the full video of Khan’s session, please click here.

In an afternoon session on “Big Data & Analytics: Evolving Value,” Arie Rimini, Director of Grid4c, highly encouraged ETS participants to check out the iTOi mobile exhibit if they hadn’t already. Throughout Wednesday, Tesla provided transportation to the iTOi mobile exhibit located in front of UT-Austin’s Blanton museum where an additional 200+ conference participants toured the iTOi mobile exhibit.

Several media outlets covered the event, which resulted in coverage that conveyed Direct Energy’s key messages:

  • “Enter Khan, who prowled the main stage in the morning to deliver what at times seemed like a motivational speech or product launch.” – E&E Energywire
  • “Direct Energy is working to promote its vision of the future with a traveling display inside a large truck, which was in Austin yesterday. The company indicated more information about future billing ideas could be provided next month.” – E&E Energywire


Bloomberg reporter Harry Weber interviewed Badar Khan immediately after his keynote speech at ETS. He focused on Khan’s new innovative approach to the power retail business and Direct Energy is encouraging its customers to use less energy. He also asked about the company’s financials during this transition phase, since theoretically asking consumers to purchase less would cut on the company profits. Khan’s response was that Direct Energy will exceed expectations because the economic principles of customer loyalty outweigh those of a consumption approach. Weber highlighted the fact that Direct Energy’s services industry will likely play a part, and Khan agreed that the convenience for consumers to have a quick resolution to any home repair will help further this idea. The interview resulted in this article.

Khan was then interviewed by Forbes contributing writer Peter Kelly-Detwiler, who indicated that Direct Energy’s new forward-thinking approach is a refreshing alternative to a stale business approach in the industry. In fact, Kelly-Detwiler said that he was ready to publish his critical thoughts about the industry’s business approach before he heard about Khan’s innovative vision for Direct Energy. Khan responded that this came from an economics model, and he looked forward to continuing down this business path to show the positive results. Forbes published this article in response to Kelly-Detwiler conversation with Khan.


As an External Relations Specialist at Direct Energy, Alle Houstoun puts her public relations acumen to work by wrangling the media at tour stops for the Innovation to Inspiration mobile exhibit. She also oversees corporate events where we share how the future of smart home and smart business technology can help our customers make smarter energy decisions so they buy less of what we sell. When not on the road, Alle follows all things #energy, #tech, #cycling, and #wine.

Leave a Reply