Elevator Pitch is a new regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Toby Simmons from Favourit, who is gambling on the future of social gambling.
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In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.
Favourit is a smartest online sports and betting community, enabling members to tap the wisdom of experts and sports fans worldwide to gain valuable insight, make smarter bets, and compete against one another. By integrating real and virtual currency betting, live scores and stats for the world's most popular sports, performance analytics and rich content, our objective is to provide members with the most intuitive and user-friendly betting platform anywhere in the world. Favourit differentiates itself by its knowledgeable community whose interactions create valuable and immediately actionable insight. With the "social gambling" market currently valued at approximately $US2.5 billion by 2015 (Morgan Stanley 2012) and the online sports betting industry's estimated turnover estimated at $US50 billion (H2 Gaming Capital), our global business model has significant scalability and long-term opportunity.
What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?
Favourit has grown rapidly since its preliminary launch in July 2012 via organic growth and the promotion of features to users who want the best online sports betting experience. We use digital channels such as Facebook and Twitter to promote content and statistics derived from intelligence generated on Favourit, such as sentiment data from our proprietary TipTracker algorithm, which measures real-time support and betting activity on specific teams before and during game play.
Favourit has been funded privately to date by angel investors, friends and high-net-worth individuals. We have just launched a Series A investment round and have received strong strategic interest from around the globe given the substantial market opportunity.
What's the biggest challenge facing your business?
Favourit's biggest challenge is building the business rapidly in response to global demand. Whilst we are quickly integrating leading market operators in regulated markets, such as Paddy Power in the UK and Sportsbet & TABCorp's business Luxbet in Australia, we have strong demand from operators in greater Europe and other international markets.
In addition, we see significant opportunities in markets such as Asia and the US by allowing members the ability to participate on Favourit using our free virtual currency. Should US regulation change in the future, Favourit is well-positioned to work with licensed operators that wish to access a large community of users and offer their customers the best social betting experience around.
What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?
"If it was easy, someone would have already done it". Not that this quote was anyone in particular, but it certainly rings true to any start-up. Often it's the glamour of overnight success that makes people think building new technology companies must be easy, but it takes time, confidence, the ability to know when you need to adapt — and lots of commitment.
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