Andy Murray’s decision to invest in clothing company Castore has paid a handsome dividend, with the company now valued at a massive £750million.
Murray was the first big signing for Castore in the summer of 2019, with the company going on to expand rapidly as they have signed deals with top Premier League clubs, major golfer champions and international sports teams.
Castore co-founder Tom Beahon told The Times newspaper he had been able to convince lenders to support the financing because its fitness clothing and replica kits “were relatively recession-proof”.
It is a remarkable rise for an entrepreneur who spoke exclusively to Tennis365 at the start of the Castore story, as he outlined his vision for the company.
“You could not ask for a better association to launch a clothing brand than working with someone as iconic as Andy Murray,” begins Tom, who was a fine sportsman himself and played football for Tranmere Rovers before starting Castore.
“We were looking to take Castore to the next level and wanted some major athlete partnerships. I can’t speak for Andy, but I think the idea of working with a younger brand set up by two young British brothers really resonated with him and we were delighted to get him on board.
“He shows a big interest in our business and became a shareholder as part of the deal to come into the company and we are excited about what we can do together moving forward. Having a conversation with an elite athlete and seeing his enthusiasm for our brand [and what] our plans were for the next five, ten and 15 years was exciting for us, and not normal when you are dealing with someone of his calibre.
“We took the view very simply that whether Andy ever stepped back on court again or not, he was and would always be an icon for British sport. He is one of a few handful of athletes to have transcended his sport and become more than just a tennis player.
“When we started Castore, the idea was to create a premium British brand that would be a little different to the main brands we all know. They are wonderful brands that everyone has been used to for so long, but they all have a price point that means they can sell at a cheap price and maybe have not built their reputation around their quality.
“Our brand ethos is ‘Better Never Stops’ and I can’t think of any athlete in the world that epitomises that more than Andy Murray.”
Murray set up his own management company, 77, in 2013 after failing to find an agency that he felt put athletes first alongside his agent Matt Gentry.
When Cromlix House, a hotel near his hometown of Dunblane which had hosted his brother Jamie’s wedding reception, went bust in 2012, Murray bought and relaunched it. He celebrated his own nuptials there three years later.
Murray is also an investor in Game4Padel, who recently confirmed they have also signed up Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk as one of their backers.
The business empire Murray oversees also includes a hotel in his Scottish homeland and he also has an interest in the Halo drinks brand, Manchester-based charity tech start-up GoodBox and ‘doctor on-demand’ platform ZoomDoc.
“I do have some time when I’m on the road travelling so do keep an eye on my investments then,” said Murray in an interview with Forbes.
“I spend a lot of time reading the news as well and follow what’s going on in the markets. I have a business adviser who helps monitor my investments more closely.
“Success for me is seeing the businesses grow and expand – it’s less about just getting a good return on my original outlay although obviously, that is nice too. I know that with start-ups there is a high chance of failure so I don’t expect all of them to make it, but I try to only choose to support businesses that have an idea that I really believe in.
“I mainly focus on supporting businesses that are in an area that I am interested in – like health and wellbeing, or nutrition, or dogs!
“Then my team do some due diligence on the business and the team behind them. Unfortunately, because I travel about 40 weeks a year, I don’t have time to meet with all the companies.
“The kind of things we look for are a good team, a clever idea in an area where there is a market for the product, and then obviously the numbers have to stack up too.
“The motivation for me is partly because investing is something that has always interested me, but also I’m really enjoying being able to support up-and-coming businesses that need a bit of a leg-up in the early days.
“As a crowdfunder, it’s great to see a young business do well. A number of businesses I have invested in over the last couple of years have done really well already, and I am excited to see how they continue to perform in the next few months and years.
“Something else that motivates me is new ideas, particularly in areas that are relevant to my life – health, nutrition, sport, exercise – so when I see ideas like that come up on Seedrs, I’m keen for them to succeed.”
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