The Entrepreneurship Society: Ed Wray

Thursday, 15th November 2012

The Entrepreneurship Society was very fortunate to welcome Ed Wray, co-founder of Betfair, who visited last week. Mr Wray began his talk by outlining the story of his company’s difficult beginnings during the dot-com bubble. Despite having an excellent idea combined with the opportunities presented by new technological developments, the company was unable to raise any funds even after visiting all the venture capital companies in London. At this point Mr Wray explained his first business lesson: “if you’re going to set up a business you’re going to get knocked down a hundred times-the question is: 'can you get up a hundred more times?'” Armed with £1,500,000 that he and his business partner raised from their family and friends, Mr Wray built his web platform and watched as the business grew little by little. However, this was no source of comfort-Mr Wray also remarked that building a business is like climbing a ladder-if you fall off the bottom rungs it doesn’t hurt but if you get near the top and then fall it hurts a great deal. However, the story has continued positively-Betfair has now grown into a massive company, managing over 7,000,000 transactions each day.

Mr Wray also used his talk to outline important entrepreneurial qualities, such as the need to be resilient and to make sustainable decisions, as well as to educate us on his betting exchange business, including their research on the superior reliability of betting odds compared to political polls in elections. However, most of all, he was adamant that “it’s never been easier to start a business than it is today”. Hopefully this inspired some of those present to go on to become entrepreneurs.

Jamie Cuffe (NCWS)