Future Fifty member Green Man Gaming – In it for the long run

To coincide with the second crop of Future Fifty companies being named, GrowthBusiness meets Green Man Gaming and its founder Paul Sulyok to find out what being a member involves.

When I arrive at the offices of Green Man Gaming near Kings Cross the first thing that founder and CEO Paul Sulyok tells me is that the company has now moved over 10 times.

And this for a business which has only been around since the end of 2009.

He then walks me through how he and his team have gone about systematically knocking down walls in their current office so that they have enough space to accommodate all 60 of them.

It’s a struggle that many growing businesses go through. You don’t want to pay over the odds for an office too big for the current set-up, but then inevitably have to move when it becomes too cosy.

However, despite probably stuffing enough moving lorries to last a lifetime, Sulyok does not seem particularly bothered with this – he’s just focused on expanding his start-up.

Green Man Gaming began, he says, to leverage a hole in the games industry. The social commerce platform offers downloadable video games alongside online sales of PC, Xbox and Playstation titles.

Its exponential growth, which has seen it grow from three to 60 staff and call numerous London offices home, has now caught the attention of the Future Fifty initiative – a scheme put together by the government and the Tech City Investment Organisation.

The Future Fifty companies are being put on a super-charged growth path by exposing them to the tools needed to secure an initial public offering (IPO).

Sulyok and his Green Man Gaming venture were one of the first 25 to be named, alongside other well-known companies such as online property business Zoopla, taxi booking app Hailo and internet-based food delivery platform Just Eat.

The standout element of Green Man Gaming is its emphasis on the data side of things. Leveraging computer gamers’ inherent social nature when it comes to playing online, Green Man Gaming bought Playfire in July 2012 to provide a platform for this.

The data heavy approach that Green Man Gaming then possessed has allowed it to produce a business offering which is proving extremely powerful.

Having been set up in 2009 by Sulyok and his business partner Lee Packham, Green Man Gaming’s original funding came from the two and 13-14 angel investors. Early-stage backer Eden Ventures also contributed.

The 2012 purchase of Playfire involved an equity swap, and brought in new shareholders such as Mind Candy’s Michael Acton-Smith, Bebo’s Michael Birch and lastminute.com founder Brent Hoberman.

With the backing of such an illustrious list of investors, Sulyok is firm in his belief that picking the growth route set out by the Future Fifty is the best one for Green Man Gaming.

Paul Sulyok on e-commerce:

Further reading on the Future Fifty:

> The Future Fifty: first wave of companies

> The Future Fifty: second wave of companies

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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