Gambling Made Easier

BetNow, a London-based mobile betting startup, has raised an undisclosed amount of first-round funding from Balderton Capital (f.k.a. Benchmark Capital Europe). The company's service will allow gamblers to place bets via text message, with the actual wagers charged to phone bills. Winnings can be picked up at local post offices.



betNOW, the start-up mobile betting service, announces its first round of investment by Balderton Capital (formerly Benchmark Capital Europe), the leading venture capital firm behind Bebo, Codemasters and Setanta. 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.


betNOW provides a totally new approach to mobile betting using text messaging. The service allows customers to simply text their desired bet to betNOW's dedicated 89808 shortcode.  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 easily collected at any of the UK's 14,000 Post Offices.


By using ubiquitous text messaging betNOW provides established gamblers with instant access to their favourite bets wherever they happen to be.  The service also brings 'remote' sports betting to a new market of sports fans who can bet whilst at an event, in the pub with friends, or watching on the TV at home.


Robert Urwin, co-founder and CEO of betNOW said: “betNOW is the fastest, simplest and most intuitive way to place a bet in the UK.  We're delighted to partner with Balderton Capital at this exciting early stage in our development.”


Tim Bunting, partner at Balderton Capital said, “betNOW is a thoroughly innovate service providing a whole new take on the remote sports book market. It's great to be working with Robert and his team to help launch betNOW throughout the UK and develop a rollout of the business internationally.”


About betNOW


betNOW  is the only premium text betting service in the UK. Whilst other “remote” gambling services rely on customers being technically savvy, having internet access and having a bank account; betNOW uniquely allows customers to bet from their pre-paid mobile phone account or phone bill. betNOW also allows customers to register on-line and bet from their credit and debit cards. The free text interface allows customers to send exactly the bets they want  in an intuitive manner and the service's unique semantics engine does the hard work by interpreting the request and providing the most relevant betting options. Unlike any other betting service, the betNOW customer can collect winnings in cash at his or her local Post Office by simply texting 'collect' to the service.


betNow is the brand name of Open Vantage Ltd,  a company founded in October 2005 by Robert Urwin, Mike McCartney and Malcolm Slater. Both Robert and Mike worked at Vodafone for many years and are experts in developing products for global networks. Having developed mobile data services extensively, Robert and Mike realised that the keys to a successful mobile service were, and continue to be, speed, ease of use, reliability and trustworthiness. The betNOW platform was developed by Malcolm, an IT expert in semantics and correlation whose previous assignment in data analytics was at the Home Office. In 2006, Hugh Fahy joined the company from Motricity, the US based mobile content provider, as Chief Operating Officer. With 17 years of mobile industry experience Hugh's ensures that the operating platform is robust and offers a first rate customer service. Rounding out the team Simon Gibson joined from J Sainsbury as Finance Director to oversee financial operations and development of the business.


About Balderton Capital  

Balderton Capital is one of Europe's largest venture capital firms, committed to finding and helping talented entrepreneurs build great companies. Based in London, it manages approximately USD 1.5 billion in committed venture capital.  


Since 2000, Balderton has invested in over 70 companies across a wide variety of technology sectors and geographies, including the UK, mainland Europe, the US and China.  Notable investments include Alphyra (Europe's largest payment-processing network), Bebo (the leading social networking site), Codemasters (the developer and publisher of innovative video games), Habbo Hotel (the teen social networking site), MySQL (the open-source database business) and Setanta Sports (the European sports pay-tv broadcaster).