Andrew Black – Betfair Co-founder
Published on 02/08/14
Andrew Black was the cofounder of the first ever betting exchange, Betfair.com.
He founded the company with Edward Wray in 1998, and Black now has a net worth of roughly $187.5 million with his 11% share in the company he founded, although he has not always been in such a good position.
He went through some hard times and jumped from job to job before he finally hit upon the idea for Betfair and the rest is history so to speak.
Black was born on May 13th 1963 and went to King’s College School in Wimbledon. He later went to Exeter University but was kicked out before he graduated. Soon after he left Uni his brother came down with a serious illness. During this illness Andrew did not work at all and just spent all his time looking after his brother. Black says that his brother woke up one day and just couldn’t get up, soon after this he slipped into a coma. Unfortunately two years later his brother passed away.
After this black jumped through jobs that included being a caddy on the European Golf Tour before he finally found a job that suited him. After being top of his maths class at Kings College Black knew that he was good with numbers and his new job was as a programmer working with complex mathematics. This programming work gave him a peek into the Stock Market and how the software worked.
This was part of the puzzle that brought him to think of the idea for Betfair. Betfair is basically the mechanics of the stock market brought into the betting world and this understanding of the technology behind it came from his first job in software. However it was not for a while after this software job that he came up with the idea. In the time in between he became a professional gambler and won significant amounts here and there but soon became bored of it as he did not have a sense that he was achieving anything.
It was a combination of the knowledge of the stock market and his love for gambling that brought together the idea for Betfair. He partnered up with Edward Wray and they pushed forward with the idea and Betfair was created.
An Ironic twist in the story of Andrew Blacks life is that he is the grandson of the Tory MP Cyril Black who throughout his career as an MP campaigned against, among other things, gambling. Cyril also told Andrew to do something amazing with his life, which he very much achieved with Betfair, but the means with which he achieved greatness may not have been quite what his grandfather meant.