Angels back new Liverpool-based gaming venture

A gaming platform that sees users play against other people rather than the bookie is launching in time for the new football season after securing backing from angel investors. Tony McDonough reports

Betmate founders Ryan Lawrence, Declan Dowling and Dan Leaper with Clare Brookfield from LCR Angel Network


A new more “ethical” gaming platform has secured a six-figure investment from the Liverpool City Region Angel Network.

Ryan Lawrence, Declan Dowling and Dan Leaper founded Betmate in August 2020. They wanted ti change the traditional ‘house always wins’ aspect of gaming. It has devised a platform where users play against other people rather than the bookmaker.

The trio spent the first few months engaging with potential users, conducting user interviews, discovering their frustrations, and ultimately deciding on what the first social betting game was going to be. 

Betmate’s first product will be based on the already popular fantasy football format and introduce a simplified more engaging user experience that allows consumers to back themselves and play for money in daily and weekly pool betting competitions. 

The game has been developed over the past year, tested during Euro 2020, and will be released to the public in time for the 2021 Premier League season. 

They decided to pitch at one of the LCR Angel Network digital events earlier in 2021 in the hope of securing capital to launch their business. Angel investors are usually high net worth individuals looking for investment opportunities in businesses with high growth or scaleable potential. The model has been popularised in BBC’s Dragons’ Den.

Through the introduction to the network of angel investors, the Betmate founders were able to fill their pre-seed investment round, which has now allowed them to expand the team and further develop the platform. 

In a joint statement, Ryan, Declan and Dan said: “This investment will allow us to launch our Fantasy Football game in time for the new Premier League season. It enables us to continuously improve the product and identify our key metrics before looking to raise our seed round.

“COVID made it difficult for us to get in front of investors. The virtual LCR pitch event removed this barrier and was a great experience for us. Our pitch resulted in us securing investment from some of the angels present.” 

Originally founded in 2018, the LCR Angel Network aims to promote growth and funding support in the Liverpool city region and is recognised as part of the wider UK Business Angels Association.

Mark Rathbone, a partner at law firm Brabners and a co-founder of the LCR Angel Network, added: “Betmate is exactly the sort of innovate venture the angel network was established to support.

“Coming from a law firm with considerable expertise in technology and sport, it was easy to see the potential for this product – as well as the amount of research that had been undertaken for its creation.”

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