Marcus Wareham’s Mfuse is making gaming mobile

In 2003, Marcus Wareham founded Mfuse, which provides technology that enables mobile devices to be used for gambling.

How did you get the idea?

Way back in the early 2000’s I had an idea for some form of wireless betting at racecourses and wondered how it could be done. The answer was through mobile networks, but unfortunately at the time neither the handsets nor the networks had the capability of supporting such an idea. But the concept in my mind was a sound one and it was only a matter of time before handsets evolved enough to accommodate it.

How did you get it to market?

It was a question of talking to tech-minded people and understanding what the roadmap was for the mobile development. We got some clever people, built some products on handsets and launched the first service in 2003.

How did you fund it?

It was angel investment to get the concept off the ground, VC funding of £1.5 million, and then we raised a second round of £2.5 million in 2008.

How was it marketed?

Initially it was through trade shows and literally talking to people about what they did on mobiles. It was tough at the time because no-one was doing much on mobiles besides phone calls back then. Word of mouth, events and doing the hard miles was the marketing that eventually paid off for us.

How was your first year of trading?

The first year we did about £100,000, it was very niche, small and new, and as a business it was a question of making sure we had enough cash in the bank to wait for what everyone believed would be an explosion. Sure enough, it took off about two years ago and has accelerated in the past 12 months.  Now, we’re doing four times the traffic we were doing at this point last year.

What’s next for the company?

We’ve very recently launched video streaming, so you can bet on a race and watch it on your phone. We are doing a lot more in the way of personalisation, some very clever algorithms to generate the content for individual users so they get their product comes as a bespoke product per user, you get the opportunities that you would like presented to you. It’s going to become a much more media-rich experience for the user.

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