Sporting Mouth: John Owrid

Following a record pre-revenue Crowdcube investment round, entrepreneur John Owrid shares his sporting rewards app

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Name: John Owrid
Company name: Sporting Mouth
Number of employees: 5
Location: Greater London
Date launched: 12/06/2014

Tell us what your business does:
Sporting Mouth is a new sports app that rewards users for exercising their sporting judgement against friends. It allows them to make a wide variety of predictions about the outcome of forthcoming sporting events, with both sponsor-funded and user-funded prizes for the winners of each challenge.

Where did the idea for your business come from?
The initial idea came from the BBC’s Lawro Predictions, where Mark Lawrenson challenges celebrities to beat his football predictions each week.
How did you know there was a market for it?
We conducted a large amount of research into the sector, then developed a beta version of our game to test its attractiveness to hard core sports fans.
What were you doing before starting up?
10 years ago, after previously running advertising and digital agencies for WPP and Omnicom, I set up the first of several new businesses and haven’t looked back.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Not initially, but eventually after running businesses for corporate firms the logical next step was to start my own.
How did you raise the money?
Most of our seed funding was raised through crowdfunding – we broke Crowdcube’s record for the fastest pre-revenue raise in the UK.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
Sporting Mouth makes money from brand sponsorship, advertising, and uniquely from commission earned through selling products and services as competition stakes.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Too many challenges to single out one! The majority have been technology challenges, in which the only answer was to roll up our sleeves and understand exactly what the technology can do – and what it can’t.
What was your first big breakthrough?
Shortly after we’d started to pre-market the business for funding, we were invited by Microsoft to collaborate with them on a promotion using our app – which we launched at the start of the football world cup in Brazil.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Simulate and test every single aspect of the business before you press the launch button.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
We want to be the first peer-to-peer sports prediction platform with a global audience. In five years we hope to have a user base of over 10 million players, with operations in most continents.

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