Amit Lakhani talks about how ZEAL came to believe in the Racehorse Lotto.
When I first met Hugh O’Donnell two years ago, I initially struggled to see how it could work. Win a racehorse for a year? Who would want that?
He had a neat idea, but no users. But I saw how passionate he was for this business and for horse racing.
I didn’t know much about the racing industry, but the data was compelling; People love it, they spend big and there is a large committed group of racehorse fans. Committed enough that a large number buy a racing newspaper every day.
I was persuaded this was a niche worth going for. We partnered with Hugh and invested a small amount to get him started on some market testing.
The business launched at the beginning of 2020, with a former ZEAL colleague Paul Nichols taking up the role of COO. This turned out to be about the worst time possible, since the sport was then cancelled by the Covid-19 outbreak. But they used the down time to test and learn with a small cohort of customers.
They got to some good activity rates and customer spend quite quickly – small amounts over a long period of time is exactly what we like at ZEAL Ventures.
Without live racing, customer acquisition was difficult but the team launched a Christmas raffle with a guaranteed winner. This worked well for both existing customers and helped to acquire new players.
Putting together the passion Hugh has for horse racing, the experience Paul has in lottery from his time at ZEAL and the backing of ZEAL Ventures has created a strong launchpad for the future.
We are excited to lead the latest and biggest round (so far) in the Racehorse Lotto – raising up to £1m to scale the Racehorse Lotto and support racing in the UK.
Hugh O’Donnell says: “I really want to shake-up the whole idea of racehorse ownership in this country. It has a certain image and it is obviously expensive, but it is such an exciting thing to own your own horse. We can now offer people the dream of sole racehorse ownership for as little as £3. I hope people get pleasure out of what we offer.”