Balderton bets on mobile

The former European arm of Benchmark Capital has backed an experienced team to launch a mobile betting service in the UK.

Balderton Capital, the venture capital firm behind social network Bebo, software developer Codemasters and European sports pay-tv broadcaster Setanta, has invested in betNOW, a start-up mobile betting service, in its first round of funding.

The investment will be used to launch the service in the UK and accelerate product development, with the goal of establishing betNOW as the UK’s leading mobile betting service.

The service allows customers to text their bet.  The customer then receives an offer text containing relevant betting options, which they can select to place their bet. Bets are charged to the user’s phone bill and winnings can be collected at any of the UK’s 14,000 Post Offices.
Robert Urwin, Mike McCartney and Malcolm Slater founded the company behind betNOW in 2005. Both Urwin and McCartney worked at Vodafone, the mobile operator for many years, developing products for global networks.

Slater, an IT expert in semantics and correlation whose previous assignment in data analytics was at the Home Office, developed the platform. In 2006, Hugh Fahy joined the company from Motricity, a US based mobile content provider, as chief operating officer.

Simon Gibson left UK grocer J Sainsbury to become finance director and to develop of the business.