Padel firm backed by Sir Andy Murray scores further £1.3m and valued at £10m
A business backed by tennis star Sir Andy Murray has raised another £1.3 million to develop a UK-wide network of playing facilities for padel, a tennis/squash hybrid game, and looking to serve up to 300 courts in five years.
Edinburgh-based Game4Padel has completed its third funding round, helping finance its expansion plans for what is billed as one of the world’s fastest-growing participation sports. It is played with four participants in a glass-enclosed court about a third of the size of a tennis court.
The latest equity raise valued Game4Padel at £10m, and takes the total it has brought in to more than £2.5m, with the new capital going towards building up to 300 courts in the next five years. Its two previous fundraisers were both heavily oversubscribed, raising a total of £1.25m.
The company is now considering launching a fourth round of fundraising later this summer to ensure it can keep pace with growing demand.
Last month, Game4Padel signed heads of terms with Europe’s largest retail destination Westfield London to install and operate courts that are expected to open in January 2022.
In April, the firm opened the first-ever padel venue in Wales, at Windsor Penarth. It is also in “detailed” discussions with some 50 other sites – including major retail destinations, business parks, leisure centres as well as sports venues – which it anticipates will add more than 50 courts to the seven already in use at its five current UK venues. It also recently opened a trial court at St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club in Surrey.
The firm says padel devotees include Rafael Nadal, David Beckham, Lionel Messi, Maria Sharapova, Martina Hingis, Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola as well as tennis stars Sir Andy Murray and Jamie Murray.
Game4Padel also cited the Lawn Tennis Association, the governing body for padel in the UK, having forecast 400 per cent growth in the number of such courts by 2023. Game4Padel “plans to be the dominant player in the fastest-growing sport in the country”, the firm also said.
It added that its series c investment round has strengthened its investor base by bringing in new backers, adding to the likes of company ambassadors and broadcasters Annabel Croft and Andrew Castle, the former tennis stars, and Jonathan Davies, the Welsh rugby legend.
The company’s co-founder and chief executive is Michael Gradon, former P&O FTSE100 main board director and commercial/finance chair of the Wimbledon Championships, and its chairman is Jim McMahon, a founding partner of investment business West Coast Capital and chairman of Motherwell FC.
Mr Gradon said: “Padel is at a tipping point in the UK, in terms of participation and popularity, and we have an ambition to be a major part of that growth story over the next few years. We have a high degree of confidence that we can deploy all the equity raised in premium UK sites within the next 12 months.”
Mr McMahon said: “This is an incredibly exciting period for our company… It’s not often a business can say with certainty that it is in the right place at the right time, but given the vast experience in our team, the growth potential of the sport, our investor and capital base and the huge demand we are experiencing, I feel confident in saying that now.”