Wray and his co-founder, Andrew Black, walked around the City of London in a mock funeral procession to drum up some attention. They also appeared on the front cover of the Sunday Times business supplement, posing alongside a bookie in a coffin with a sign saying, “In loving memory of the bookie, who emptied punters’ pockets, took shirts off their backs, never made a decent price and died with the birth of open-market betting”.
Distasteful, yes. But it worked.
In year one, they made a “few hundred thousand pounds”. In year two, they raised £4m from friends and family, bought their rival Flutter.com, started advertising in the Racing Post – and made £6m.
Wray admits that he “made it up as he went along”. He’d spent eight years at JP Morgan in the bank’s debt capital markets division – but had zero experience of running a business. “I don’t have an entrepreneurial background,” he says. “My father was a stockbroker and my mother was a teacher. They couldn’t understand why on earth I was leaving a nice job in the City to start something utterly mad.”