Multiplay: From part-time hobby to £20m business
Multiplay are the UK’s biggest gaming services company, specialising in large scale gaming events and online games hosting. Since hosting his first gaming event for just 20 people, Craig Fletcher has grown Multiplay to become a £20 million business.
After successfully running a handful of gaming leagues for friends in local a hotel, Craig saw the potential to turn his hobby into a viable business.
Over the years, Multiplay continued to grow, needing larger venues and more staff. In 2012 as the business began to ramp up, Craig was starting to struggle with juggling the many aspects of running a business. “It was a particularly rough time, I was doing 43 hours of finance each week, as well as trying to run and grow the business.”
Whilst working with The FD Centre for part-time financial support, Craig was referred to an Experience Vistage session. “Every single person in the group voted to process my issue and I got properly grilled!” With Craig aware that something needed to change, he joined his local Vistage group, chaired by Neil Wilkie. Neil and the other Vistage group members were able to share ideas and process issues whilst holding Craig to account.
“It’s a great confidential environment where you can open up and talk about things you don’t talk about with anyone else, especially in a family business.” Using the knowledge shared from his Vistage group and the expert speakers, Craig began to have more time to focus fully on growing the business. “I’ve never had a speaker session where I didn’t have at least one great thing to take away and learn from.”
Since forming in 1997, Multiplay has grown to have over 100 employees running a variety of events including Insomnia, the biggest gaming festival in the UK with a footfall of 35,000 people. “It’s very easy to keep a culture when you have 30 employees, that gets a lot harder when you have 50, 100, 150 people.”
Craig’s Vistage group has continued to support and hold him to account even as the company has developed. The culmination of Multiplay’s growth came in 2015 when the company was acquired by GAME for £20m. “There was a lot of stress and learning that went on in the process and the support of Vistage was needed more than ever.”
Looking to the future, Craig is confident about how Multiplay can continue to grow with the support of Vistage. “We doubled turnover and headcount last year but we want to throw rocket fuel at the company and push even further!”