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Bounce ping pong founder sets sights on bingo overhaul with IPO on horizon

Adam Breeden says traditional bingo halls are not harnessing their potential.

The brains behind ping pong bar Bounce and mini golf club Puttshack has set his sights on revamping the traditional bingo hall, putting Social Entertainment Ventures on track for fresh investment and a US IPO.

Founder Adam Breeden is keeping the details close to his chest, but says his version of the British favourite – called HiJingo! – will be something like “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, the X Factor and a rock concert”.

He claims older, more traditional bingo halls are not harnessing their potential.

“We are in the process of developing technology which runs the bingo, but also choreographs the way the venue sort of pulsates with the emotional flow of the experience of playing bingo,” Mr Breeden told the Press Association.

Part of that excitement lies in the winnings, and Social Entertainment Ventures (SEV) is hoping to clinch partnerships that will help the company dole out weekend tickets to Paris or flights to New York, alongside “phenomenal monetary prizes”.

Breeden says SEV will launch three venues within the first 12 months of trading, with the first to open in London. Other sites are being scouted in major UK cities.

Four more HiJingo locations are expected to be running by 2021, at which time it is expected to generate more than £20 million in revenue for the business – accounting for a notable portion of the group’s total group target of £85 million.

It would mark notable growth for the business, with SEV having booked £13.3 million in revenues in 2017 and £700,000 in underlying earnings.

By that time, the group will have fully rolled out its minigolf concept Puttshack – launching in London’s White City development in June – alongside its ping pong bar Bounce, which has been around since 2012.

Mr Breeden said the company was now fielding investor interest on a regular basis.

“We’re constantly being approached by people who want to invest in the business.

“We are running a fundraise in Social Entertainment Ventures towards the end of the year, so that will be probably be an institutional raise but it could be an ultra high net worth as well – we just have various options.”

SEV’s growth is also  putting it on track for an initial public offering (IPO) within the next few years.

“Our plan is to own the whole social entertainment, competitive socialising space in the UK and the US, and that is our strategic plan with a view to float on the US stock market in four to five years.”

However, London has not been ruled out for its pending IPO.

“It could be UK but we see the predominant size of our growth happening the US … we are running both options at the moment.”

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Mr Breeden, who also founded bowling business All Star Lanes and recently helped launch social darts bar Flight Club, dismissed suggestions that SEV might suffer as a result of these novelty concepts starting to fade.

“It’s funny, everyone has always said this right before every business that I have launched, and there’s been no evidence of any of these business that they’re just a passing fad.

“I mean All Star Lanes is now 10 years old and is actually now embarking on a significant expansion, so that’s not going anywhere.”

He added: “Darts is ingrained in our culture and mini golf has been around for 100 years and in that hundred years there’s been zero innovation.

“So what we’re doing is taking something that’s a traditional pastime … (and) creating a massively enhanced product and experience to make it that much more appealing to a wider audience.

“And Bingo, again it’s been around for so long, it’s just the most wonderfully simple compelling experience, which is why it’s stood the test of time.”

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