Andrew Black: Co-founder of Betfair
Andrew Black is the mastermind behind one of the most successful betting sites in the world: Betfair. After co-founding the company in 1998 with his colleague, Edward Wray, Betfair has grown increasingly popular among gambling enthusiast with over 950,000 active customers on their site.
Although Black is no longer involved in the day-to-day operations of Betfair, he still remains a shareholder, owning approximately eleven percent of the company. His early contributions to Betfair created a lasting impact on the site, and it revolutionized the gaming industry for a lifetime.
Andrew Black was born in May of 1963. He was the grandson of Sir Cyril Black, a conservative member of parliament who spoke out against the legalization of UK betting shops. Black followed his grandfather by attending King's College School in Wimbledon, where he excelled in mathematics. He used those math skills to gamble against his friends.
After high school, he attended Exeter University, but he spent more time with the local bookmakers than on his actual school work. This resulted in him failing most of his year end exams and eventually being expelled from school altogether.
Black then had to embrace the part-time job phase of his life where he tried many different odd jobs from stocking shelves at the local B&Q to working under a building contractor. In his spare time, he was still a devout gambler, betting mostly on horse races.
It was around this time when Black's younger brother, Kevin, contracted a brain infection, leaving him paraplegic. Black stopped working to take care of his brother who fought the infection off for two years before he passed away, leaving Black devastated.
Journey to Success in the Online Gambling Industry
After the death of his brother, Black started searching for an actual career job. He travelled to the city where he started working for Track Data, a US derivatives company. He worked his way up to the head of the company's customer support in research and development.
Black quickly lost interest in the job, and headed back to the racecourse where he found incredible success this time around. His predictions were so spot on that most of his coworkers joined in on his wagers. He quickly realized that he would make way more money gambling than he could ever make at Track Data, so he left the company and became a full-time gambler.
His lucky streak eventually ran out though, putting Black on the search for another job. With the help of his new wife, Jane, he set up a computer software company where he dabbled in the area of gambling software.
This helped kick-start the idea for Betfair, a convenient alternative to placing bets for those who are sick of losing money by going through a bookmaker. Black soon realized he needed help to make Betfair possible. Upon recognizing this, his father passed away, motivating him even more to make Betfair a reality.
Black approached Edward Wray, his best friend's brother and the vice president at JP Morgan and Co. at the time, and presented him with the idea of Betfair. Edward Wray was impressed with Black's ideas and quickly jumped on board to help him raise the necessary funds needed to get started. In 2000, after many months of development, Black and Wray launched the Betfair website: the first successful betting exchange ever to be created.
This site allows two individuals to bet against each other at agreed odds that they determine. This process happens by allowing anyone to place a wager, but another person has to choose to accept the wager before the bet goes through. This was a completely new concept to the world of online gambling.
Black and Wray were named Young Entrepreneurs of the year for their innovation and contributions to Betfair in 2002. At this time, Betfair was quickly growing to become one of the world's largest gambling sites.
Black was always fond of horseracing, and in 2009 he entered a partnership with Tom Dascombe and Michael Owen to form the Manor House Stables, a thoroughbred racing stable located in Malpas, UK.
Andrew Black is happily married to Jane Black and they have four children together. Black continues to spend his free time betting on horseracing and playing bridge and other card games with his friends.
Author: Nicole Miller
Updated: March 2015
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