BragBet: Invest NI bets £287k on hi-tech gambling
An Irish team betting service is to offer its unique gambling service to Northern Ireland punters, offering nine new technology jobs and a collective £300,000 in annual salaries.
Dublin social media company BragBet has confirmed it is to expand its operations in Northern Ireland with the assistance of just under £300,000 in public funding.
The site enables groups of friends to pit their sporting savvy against other teams in an attempt to beat the bookies' odds in their favourite sport – and secure bragging rights as well as hard cash.
Teams place money into a joint kitty and each week a new team member becomes captain, deciding what to bet on.
BragBet has secured £287,000 to support the new posts and its expansion northward, including £200,000 from the Invest Growth Fund, managed by venture capital firm E-Synergy, on behalf of Invest NI. Invest NI also also offered £87,000 towards the creation of the nine jobs.
The social media service, described as the world's first for team betting, is available via both desktop and mobile platforms.
BragBet says it "leverages social media, human relationships and a passion for sports in a truly interactive product" and has been described as a "huge success with sports fans" since its launch last April. The online company was recently appointed the Official Betting Partner of the Football Association of Ireland.
It has also developed a number of strategic alliances with sporting associations and media businesses, in what it reveals as its "bid to disrupt some of the marketing conventions within the fast growing social gaming sector".
Phil Riordan, chief executive of BragBet, said Belfast "stood out" among potential locations to set up its new base.
"Belfast stood out because of the strong software base, a pro start-up business environment and the availability of the specific mobile skills we require to grow our business," he said.
"This, combined with a package of financial support, made Northern Ireland the most attractive option," he said, adding he was keen to work closely with Invest NI and E-Synergy in the future.
Mike Bowman, fund director at E-Synergy, added: "BragBet is a truly innovative start-up disrupting the betting markets using the power of social media.
"We are delighted to be able to join with existing investors including Boyle Sports and Telefonica."