Edinburgh padel sports firm backed by Sir Andy Murray eyes global push after latest £3m investment

An Edinburgh-based sports business backed by tennis star Sir Andy Murray has been valued at £18 million after a fresh round of investment.

Monday, 10th January 2022, 8:35 am
Updated Monday, 10th January 2022, 8:35 am

Game4Padel is behind the development of a UK-wide network of playing facilities for padel, a tennis/squash hybrid game

The company has raised £3m from retail and institutional investors. It marks a fourth successful fundraising round in less than three years, attracting a mixture of debt and equity capital that will help the business accelerate its growth plans.

The latest investment round - the firm’s largest to date - has seen a near doubling of Game4Padel’s enterprise value, after it raised more than £1.3m in August 2021 at a £10m valuation.

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Game4Padel ambassador Annabel Croft with company chief executive Michael Gradon. Picture: Daniel K Clarke

The first two fundraising exercises, in March 2019 and March 2020, were both heavily oversubscribed and raised a combined £1.25m, meaning the company has raised some £5.5m in total since it was founded at the end of 2018.

Jim McMahon, chairman of Game4Padel, said: “One of the key tests for scale-up companies at this stage is judging the right moment to increase spending.

“We have been very prudent so far, to control cash burn, but have stepped up our expenditure in the last few months - primarily on marketing and staff - and are already seeing the benefits of investing in both.”

Padel is a tennis/squash hybrid played with four players in a glass-enclosed court about one-third the size of a tennis court and with broadly similar rules, although players serve underhand, making it easier to play.

The firm is developing a network of playing facilities for padel and said it already operates more venues than any other UK provider. It plans to rapidly expand its domestic market presence by building up to 300 courts within the next five years.

Bosses said they had recently received several approaches from “credible organisations” keen to partner with Game4Padel in other countries.

McMahon added: “We have had a number of interesting approaches from potential partners keen to collaborate in multiple countries in Europe and further afield.

“As encouraging as it is to be gaining recognition abroad, we will take a measured view over time depending on market potential, existing competition, and the strength of those potential partners in the relevant locations.

“For now, we remain focused on the UK market, where there is more than enough work in the pipeline to keep us busy.”

James Rose has joined the company as national development manager with a remit to launch new padel venues in the south of the UK, oversee the training of coaches, and develop the firm’s industry partnerships.

Michael Gradon, chief executive of Game4Padel, said: “James has more than 20 years’ professional experience of the global tennis industry and joins us after eight years as director of tennis coaching at the renowned La Manga Club in Spain. He is already making an impact.”

Last month, the firm announced that it had signed the number one ranked British padel player, Tia Norton, as a company ambassador. She joins existing tennis ambassadors Murray, Annabel Croft and Andrew Castle, as well as Jonathan Davies, the Welsh rugby legend.

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