Soccer Manager: Online game from Leeds bags £3M to expand in Middle East

Soccer Manager

Preston-based Soccer Manager (SM) is an online soccer game and now has secured a further £3 million in a funding round led by its existing investor Mercia.

The latest investment also comes from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and the Government’s Future Fund to support its continued growth.

Middle East expansion

The British company will use the investment to grow its user base in the Middle East and Far East through local language translations. Also, it will further develop its SM 2022 game, which is set to launch this autumn. Soccer Manager will also relaunch its original multiplayer game, SM World, by creating new apps and incorporating new features.

Founded in 2004 by soccer-loving brothers, Andy, Chris and Steven Gore, the company employs over 40 staff. Soccer Manager is a good example of Mercia’s Complete Connected Capital model. It was first backed with a loan from one of Mercia’s managed debt funds in December 2013, then received investment from Mercia’s EIS funds in December 2014 and received its first direct investment from Mercia’s proprietary capital in March 2015. Mercia now holds a fully diluted direct investment stake of 39.0% with a further 7.6% held by Mercia’s managed EIS funds.

Andy Gore, CEO of Soccer Manager, said “We are delighted to have Mercia as a partner that continues to share our vision and we look forward to the next stage of our journey together.”

Julian Viggars, CIO of Mercia Asset Management, said: “Soccer Manager is a great example of an innovative, regional business, which, with the determination of its founders, has scaled its recurring customer base and revenues to achieve high-quality games with a very loyal community. The business was already on a strong growth trajectory before the pandemic, but with the increasing numbers of ‘at home gamers’ not expected to slow down, we anticipate that there is further significant potential in this asset.”

Ken Cooper, Managing Director at British Business Bank, said: “The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund continues to provide vital funding to innovative businesses across the region. We are working with Mercia and our other appointed fund managers to make a real impact on business communities, creating jobs and supporting innovation by providing access to funding and unlocking the North’s potential.”

Yorkshire accountants and business advisers Garbutt + Elliott provided fundraising advice to Soccer Manager.

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

Witnessed 80% revenue growth

The tech startup from Leeds has also grown its revenue by over 80% since the launch of ‘Soccer Manager 2021’ in September 2020. Its games are now played by users across 234 countries and have been downloaded by over 50 million players. It has attracted over one million active users each month. Founded in 2004 by brothers Andy, Chris and Steven Gore, Soccer Manager employs over 40 staff.