As business-minded and commercially savvy athletes continue to seek equity over cash, former world number one tennis player Andy Murray lifts the lid on how he is helping startups grow, and explains how he identifies the companies he wants to invest in.
“I have always had an eye on business opportunities after I finish playing tennis, as the career of a tennis player can finish at any time, so it’s good to have a long-term plan,” says the Scot. “I initially started investing in businesses by buying Cromlix Hotel in Scotland. After that I was looking around for things that I could do in the limited time I have – the tennis calendar is very busy so I had to find something that could fit around that.”
Athletes investing in startups know – or quickly find out the hard way – that they can also be a great way to lose money. Very few firms will go public and most evaporate, leaving investors with nothing to show for their investment. But with increased risk comes the promise of greater rewards – a fact that was not lost on Murray.
“Success for me is seeing the businesses grow and expand – it’s less about just getting a good return on my original outlay although obviously that is nice too,” he says. “I know that with startups there is a high chance of failure so I do expect that not all of them will make it.
Murray says that he enjoys watching startup companies grow and expand
After striking up a strategic partnership, Murray joined the Seedrs advisory board in June 2015. He has since made 28 investments through the London-based firm’s platform. His portfolio includes the golf experience app VPAR, ticket resale platform Twickets, peer-to-peer lending platform Landbay, virtual reality shopping firm Tillenium, and ecommerce investor Fuel Ventures Fund, to name a few.
VPAR is part of Andy’s investment portfolio
Ultimately, Murray insists, investing for him isn’t just about the bottom line. “The motivation for me is partly because investing is something that has always interested me, but also I’m really enjoying being able to support up-and-coming businesses that need a bit of a leg-up in the early days.”
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