In our Startup Six series, we’re asking startup leaders six key questions about their approach to business.
This week, we’re talking with Toby Simmons from Favorit.
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 is the most important lesson you’ve learned about seeking or managing finance?
The most important lesson learnt is that investors can and should present strategic value to your company — not just capital. Whilst there are plenty of sources to find finance, the best investor brings not just money but knowledge, assets and strategic business development opportunities to the table that can help grow and turbo-charge your business.
How often do you revise your elevator pitch and what do you consider when doing it?
Building a “startup” means you’re constantly considering and analysing user feedback, soliciting input from partners, and evaluating how stakeholders receive and respond to your overall pitch. The most important thing is to ensure that you match the right value proposition to the right audience. We’re always trying to adapt and improve our messaging strategy to ensure that it’s succinct and effective.
What differences do your mentors make to you?
I have been extremely fortunate throughout my career to date (noting at age 26 there’s a fair way to go!) that my mentors have had significant experience and the knowledge and networks to help grow not only our company but also our own personal skills and capabilities. Favourit’s Chairman, Martin Dalgleish, has been able to provide myself and the company with fantastic support, advice and knowledge as we’ve continued to grown, drawing from his immense professional experience that includes roles as CEO of New Media for PBL and Chairman of iSelect.
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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