LONDON, January 1, 2014. With the launch this week of GamCrowd, a crowdfunding company specifically for gambling start-ups, Chris North is going back to his roots as an entrepreneur.
“The last start up I did struggled to register any interest from VCs and so I went back to my own crowd,” says Chris. “I didn’t know it was called crowdfunding at the time, but that is exactly what we did and it was a spectacular success”.
Chris was Founder and CEO of the Fox Poker Club in London which he launched in 2010, and will happily tell you the story of how, having received no support from banks or VCs, he successfully sought help from his friends in the industry.
“I needed cash, expertise and credibility for such a big project” Chris explains. In his search for seed funding, he was supported by professional poker players like Phil Laak, Barney Boatman and Joe Beevers, who helped ensure a great poker experience. Michael Casselli, editor of Bluff Magazine helped with marketing and PR, 888 CEO Brian Mattingley was the first Chairman and retail bookmaker Ian Hogg helped with licensing and operations. These and about 30 other investors from the industry brought cash, expertise and helped spread the word. The result was a club that grew to 26,000 members in six months, was packed out every weekend and was sold to Genting Plc within a year in a multi-million pound deal.
Now Chris wants to use the same kind of people and resources to launch a crowdfunding site targeted exclusively at the Gambling industry.
GamCrowd seeks to match investors, start-ups and industry expertise just for the Gambling industry. Crowdfunding is revolutionising the way that start-ups raise money in an era when banks and venture capital firms are reducing their contribution to early stage funding.
GamCrowd is backed by many of the investors that were successful with Fox Poker Club. The crowdfunding platform will go live at the end of January, when it will start recruiting its “crowd” – potential investors, start-ups looking for funds and industry professionals. The “crowd” can get involved by investing either with cash or sweat equity, freelance crowdsourcing or crowd voting and are being asked to register. “Once we have a sufficient base of investors, start-ups and a crowd, we will begin putting people in touch with each other and allow investments to happen” Chris explains. Before any investment takes place, GamCrowd will be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority which has recently issued a detailed consultation document on the nascent crowdfunding industry in the UK.
According to researcher Datamonitor, crowdfunding for businesses in the UK is experiencing growth of 80 per cent CAGR* across all its variations and has raised funds this year of over £119 million.UK Market leader Crowdcube has helped start-ups raise over £16 million, but doesn’t focus on any particular market or industry.
This is where GamCrowd believe they have an edge. “We intend to introduce investors with contacts and expertise to start-ups in the gambling industry across the world. As I have already learned, this will add tremendous value to the start-ups that are successful in being funded,” Chris points out.
Crowdfunding isn’t new; the Statue of Liberty was funded that way and as Chris has already shown, the model can be successful in the modern Gambling industry. The development of web 2.0 and social media have given it a new technology-based impetus. GamCrowd will offer a platform that will make a real difference for the creation of innovative start-ups that will drive growth in the UK Gambling industry.
*Compound Annual Growth Rate
tel: +447971 121916