Paddy Power gambles on new sports betting venture - Published by Independent.ie
Bookmaker to crowdfund for virtual sports betting startup ASX - 9 May 2021
Paddy Power, the eponymous face of Ireland’s biggest bookmaker who was responsible for some of the company’s most controversial publicity stunts, is betting that his new tech startup, a virtual stock market for sports betting called ASX, will be worth at least €10m within 18 months.
Power, whose father co-founded Paddy Power – now part of Flutter Entertainment – set out last Friday to raise €500,000 for the venture on Dublin-based equity crowdfunding platform Spark Crowdfunding, at a €4.5m valuation, to accelerate growth at ASX. The venture had raised €100,000 on the platform within an hour of the campaign going live, with some investors putting money in ahead of the campaign.
While ASX already has some shareholders, Power has bankrolled the building of the business to date to the tune of a “healthy six-figure sum”. He said: “Half a million euro would be great for an early-stage startup and would give us 12 to 18 months’ work. Another couple of people are interested in investing, which would bring funds up to about €1m.
“Our big plan is to get to the stage of another fundraising round as quickly as possible. I’d say the next fundraising round would make the company worth €10m and that would be cautious, which is unlike me.”
Power is the former head of communications at Paddy Power and is still the brand ambassador, albeit on a part-time basis, enabling him to focus on developing ASX. He has backed – and advised on – as many as 13 other early-stage startups, “a couple of which paid off and a couple of which failed”.
While this is the first time Power has “been promoting anything but Paddy Power” in more than 25 years, he “100pc” intends to apply the same wacky marketing skills to ASX that he deployed at the betting giant.
He was behind a slew of novelty bets at Paddy Power, including offering odds on which supermarket chains would follow the lead of Tesco in Cardiff by banning customers from shopping in their pyjamas. The company landed in hot water with the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority over an advert that suggested a cat was being kicked across a football pitch by blind players. The same advertising watchdog also fielded a record number of complaints after the company ran an ad offering “money back if he walks” on the trial of Oscar Pistorius over his shooting dead of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.