Managing Director - Guinevere Capital
Interview by Tim Carroll
You have worked across a number of sports before setting up your latest venture, have you any interesting stories to share ?
There aren’t many jobs out there where you can read about your workplace gossip on the back page of national newspapers every day. I won’t add to the array of published celebrations and scandals but will say there is generally a gap between the perception and reality when it comes to people’s views of the big sports orgs and personalities.
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture?
I got sick of telling people how to run their business’s and getting ignored, so I felt it was time to put my money where my mouth was. It was also an opportunity to get together a group of talented people, I would really enjoy working with.
How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
I felt the best way to effect change in the industry I was in, was to set up a best practice example of a sports org by working closely with a governing body. While initially looking at opportunities to do this in traditional sports, Esports presented itself as the best opportunity for that model.
What have you taken from the sports you have worked with that can be applied to E-Sports ?
Our entire model is based upon taking the best parts of performance and commercialisation from traditional sports and applying them to Esports. We have set up an Esports High Performance Centre in the SCG precinct and filled it with staff in similar roles to that of a traditional sports org. By putting some structure and professionalism around an Esports operation, it has made a huge difference to the level of performance.
How did you choose your company name and why?
There are some regrets around the name Guinevere as no one can spell or say it. It actually started as an attempt at a witty project name related to one of our acquisition targets in traditional sports and then stuck.
Where did your organisations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
It was a bit of a leap faith back at the time and seeded by myself and former colleagues. Esports is now a really hot space with conversations happening at a VC/PE level, facilitated by a number of capital advisors we work with.
How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Esports lives in the digital space and on social media. Our flagship project the LG Dire Wolves have won domestically and competed in all the major internationals for League of Legends, the world’s biggest Esport, which has huge viewership’s (127million people watched one game at the last major international tournament). The challenge for Esports is not reach but the ability to commercialise. We have started a “membership” program for Dire Wolves which effectively allows us to build a relationship with our key advocates, while also driving subscription revenue.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
Developing young people (and convincing my wife that playing computer games is market research).
How do you conquer those moments of doubt that so often stifle or trip or stop so many entrepreneurs with great ideas...what pushes you through?
The most important quality in my view for an entrepreneur is persistence. I always remind myself that if it was easy, someone else would have already done it.
Excluding yours, what business or organisation do you admire the most?
Red Bull who have strong beliefs about their approach to marketing and partnerships, which differentiates them as a brand.
Besides money, what are your favourite ways to compensate people?
Upskilling them and creating opportunities for them to reach their ambitions.
If you could offer a first-time entrepreneur only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Things always take longer than you think, so give yourself plenty of runway to avoid getting wedged in an awkward position.