Rising Star: Rob Mathieson

Rob Mathieson backed a winning business idea when he set up betting advice and news site Tipstar.co.uk.

Where did you get the idea?

Sports betting was a hobby and I realised there was a gap in the market for a site providing betting advice and sports news. People sell their sports tips through us and we take a brokerage fee, we also make a proportion of our revenue through advertising.

How did you get funding?

We got a £150,000 loan through our regional development agency. We managed to secure that amount because we put together a really strong business plan. We applied for private investment, but it seems to be a lot easier to get public funding, particularly EU-backed investment.

How have you marketed the idea?

We’ve done a lot online, with automated Twitter feeds, forum postings and Facebook groups. Offline, we’ve spent money advertising ourselves, and recently did a campaign which involved a group of girls dressing up as jockeys and promoting the site at races, that got a lot of attention from some of the lads’ mags.

Where next?

We’re about to launch some new facilities for the site. We want people to access more media through it, such as watching sporting events online, and we’d like to develop an iPhone application.

What lessons have you learnt?

Cash flow is so important, especially at the moment as people are holding out on paying. We suddenly realised this when we had no money left in the bank. After that, we made sure we had projections for what was coming in and going out three months in advance.

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