Nicko Williamson’s background isn’t atypical of a London cabbie but then neither is his company Climatecars a typical cab company. A privately educated ex-Marlborough College student, Nicko, 27, left school and went skydiving, paragliding and white-water rafting. He was a chef in Paris for a while and did a couple of internships at hedge funds until he had his eureka moment. While driving past a gas-conversion garage close to the family pad near Shaftesbury, in the midst of handing in his dissertation on American slavery to Bristol University, Nicko saw the potential of a new type of taxi company. (Nicko has motoring in his blood, his great-grandfather won the Isle of Man TT race in 1908.) He planned to convert a ﬂeet of people carriers to LPG gas, but the CO2 savings didn’t stack up. After much research he settled on the Toyota Prius hybrid; they emit 60% per cent less CO2 than black cabs and can run on pure electricity up to 30 mph so are great for London.
Nicko was only 22 when he wrote the business plan and 23 when Climatecars launched in June 2007. Turnover tripled within a year and the company now has more than 550 account holders. “I founded Climatecars when I saw a need in London for a car service that combined a 1st class service with a minimum of environmental impact.” says Nicko.
Nearly four years on, he is celebrating striding well past the £2m turnover mark. Around 90% of the company’s revenue comes from account work and clients range from eco-friendly celebrities to corporate giants such as Unilever. Initial funds to start the business came from a family and friends investment round, but Nicko has since followed this on with a further £300,000 of business angel funding.
The young entrepreneur has big ambitions for the company; he is aiming for Climatecars to be the dominant green cab firm in London introducing pure electric cars with their own charge points. To test this, Climatecars have an alliance with GUTSI, which is a 100% electric luxury minibus.
The future for Nicko is the continued growth of Climatecars, developing and extending the brand. A luxury VIP side of the business is planned for 2011 with larger green vehicles. He is very ambitious and wants to keep pushing the business forward yet still remaining true to the Climatecars brand and keeping the environmental impact to a minimum.
See www.climatecars.com for more info.