I briefly caught up with Tim Morgan, founder of Picklive – Picklive has the fastest sports data in the world and uses it to create games that people play while they are watching football on TV. In our conversation, I ask Tim a few questions on his journey so far as an entrepreneur and running Picklive.
This is the full interview below
Hi Tim, How are you doing, great to have you on YHP?
I’m doing great thanks Joseph– very happy to be here.
Could you quickly give us some background information about yourself?
I’m from Wales. After I graduated I qualified as an accountant and then advised on mergers and acquisitions for about 5 years.
How did you get involved in entrepreneurship? Were you exposed to entrepreneurship as a child?
I met a friend for lunch in 2004. He said he was going to leave his job and start a business. He asked if I’d be interested in helping him. I agreed. That business was Mint Digital http://mintdigital.com/ - a fine web technology company.
I was not exposed to entrepreneurship at all as a child. Growing up in the South Wales valleys during the 80s and 90s, most people were lucky if they had a job and didn’t have the luxury of sitting around contemplating industry disruption.
So tell me about Picklive and how the idea came about?
I was having breakfast one Saturday with some friends. We had developed some real-time technology at Mint that allowed us to build ‘playalong’ games to TV shows. We thought, “wouldn’t it be good if instead of having to wait 9 months for a result you could play fantasy football in short 5 minute games” – BOOM Picklive was born.
What is Picklive and how does it work?
Picklive has the fastest sports data in the world and uses it to create games that people play while they are watching football on TV. These games feel like something between sports betting and social gaming. Picklive is a '2 screen' experience designed to make even the dullest football match worth watching.
What is your business model?
Gambling. Each players pays a small amount (£1 currently) to enter a game. The winner takes the pot and we take a cut.
How did you initially attract users to Picklive, and how do you do it now?
Initially word of mouth. Now we have media partners, a referral system and make use of social media.
What makes Picklive different from any service out there? What problem does it solve?
It’s the world only ‘in-play’ fantasy football site. It makes the dullest football match on TV feel like El Clasico.
What are the most crucial things you have done to grow your business?
Hired great people, listened to our customers.
What was the most challenging part of starting the business?
Obtaining the gambling license.
Would you say the business has changed from the first initial idea?
Yes it was originally just about live fantasy football. Now its about a range of games that people play to pep up their football viewing experience.
Who are your competitors?
There are no direct competitors. Similar products include any fantasy football site, any sports betting site and any social football game.
What were you doing before you founded Picklive?
I founded and was CEO at Mint Digital.
How have you been able to fund the business?
We have both self-funded and raised VC money.
What can we be expecting from your company in 2012?
Lots of new games.
What three pieces of advice would you offer entrepreneurs starting out today?
1. Test the market. Make sure there is demand for your product before you spend too much time on it;
2. Know why you’re doing it. Are you trying to change the world or are you trying to make money? Those are often not the same thing;
3. Hiring is the riskiest most time consuming activity, be certain you need headcount before you attempt it.