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Brains behind video game eye further growth

Soccer Manager

The Preston friends behind an online football management game played by millions of people around the world are planning further growth.

Soccer Manager began as a self-funded project in 2005 between brothers Andrew, Steven and Chris Gore and their friend Peter Adams. In the past three years its number of registered users has increased from 700,000 to 15 million.

The game has roughly 90,000 football players, with over 3,000 teams represented.  This information is updated regularly by the game’s users through a dedicated Wiki, which was set up by the developers. This ensures that every transfer and every statistic is accounted for.

Soccer Manager generates most of its revenue through advertising and in-game purchases, thus offering free access across both the single and multiplayer games.  Additionally, users can save, store and access their games across multiple devices, from mobile to PC.

In 2013, the company received a six-figure package from the Lancashire Rosebud Fund managed by Enterprise Ventures on behalf of Lancashire County Developments (LCDL), the county’s economic development company.

At the time of the first Rosebud™ investment, Soccer Manager had around 700,000 now it has more than 15 million registered users of its multiplayer and single player games, and has also received around £1.6 million in investment from Enterprise Ventures’ parent company, Mercia Technologies PLC.

Chief executive, Andrew Gore, who previously worked as a freelance programmer for Gameboy Advance and Nintendo DS, said: “Enterprise Ventures understood us and what we were aiming to achieve.  Through the Rosebud™ fund, they gave us the capital we needed to ‘up our game’, both in terms of our strategy and the game itself”.

Since the Rosebud™ investment the business has also appointed Nick Wheelwright, the former CEO of Codemasters, as chairman.  Nick was introduced to the company through Mike Hayes, who managed Mercia’s own investment in April 2015.  Nick has over 20 years of experience in interactive entertainment, during which time he transformed Codemasters from a UK business into a worldwide sales, marketing and distribution operation.

Andrew added: “We’ve benefited from the experience of many industry leaders since the first Rosebud™ investment.  This has helped us to focus our business plan and make the most of our in-house talent, whilst keeping creative control of our projects.”

The company is now looking to grow further and will be exploring new ways to make the game available to a wider audience, whilst keeping regular users on their toes.  Andrew mentions virtual reality (VR) and wearables as two markets in which Soccer Manager has a particular interest.

He said: “As the technology becomes more advanced so too will our game, with Rosebud’s and Mercia’s capital on hand to expedite this growth.  Imagine, for example, actually having the experience of sitting in the dugout, watching your game play around you through a VR headset.  It certainly is an exciting time to be in the gaming sector, and we will use this to grow our business and meet the demands of our users with ever-more realistic and immersive football management games.”

For Paul Taberner at Enterprise Ventures, Soccer Manager’s success underlines why funds such as Rosebud™ exist in the first place. He said: “I think it is important that we continue to support businesses outside of London, which don’t often benefit from the wealth of capital available to their “Silicon Roundabout” counterparts.

“With the right investment partner, businesses in the North such as Soccer Manager have the potential to create jobs and establish regions such as Lancashire as prime locations in which to nurture and exploit entrepreneurial talent.”

Rosebud provides loan and equity finance for businesses in growth sectors such as aerospace and advanced manufacturing, healthcare, creative and digital, energy and environmental technology, and financial and professional services.

It is managed by Enterprise Ventures, on behalf of Lancashire County Developments Ltd (LCDL) – the county council’s economic development company.

For more information and to apply call 0800 488 0057 to speak to a Boost advisor.

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