Mark Davies is an entrepreneur and investor who currently holds a number of volunteer Chair roles, including British Rowing (the national governing body for the sport), and Onside WEST (a project to build state-of-the-art facilities for disadvantaged young people in White City, west London).
Having started his career at JPMorgan in 1995 following five years at Cambridge (where he graduated first in French and Russian and subsequently in European Studies at Christ's College), he became a broadcaster with BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC News 24, and for two seasons wrote about both cricket and rowing for The Daily Telegraph.
In May 2000, he joined the founder-management team at Betfair, a company which launched a month later (as the initial dot.com bubble was bursting) with the aim of revolutionising an industry and – ironically in light of events eight years later – aiming to bring ‘financial markets best practice to the sports betting market’. The initial team of eight in London grew over the course of the decade that he spent with the business to 3,000 people across the world, including the Australia business which he spent two years from 2004-2005 in Sydney setting up.
Mark left Betfair in 2010, the year that the business delivered 132x return to seed investors in its IPO, and for five years ran his own small consultancy business, Camberton, while pursuing other interests – including doing an MA in Contemporary History and Politics at King’s College London. He became Chairman of Archery GB in 2015, and took on British Rowing in 2018 – overlapping the two for a year before declining the offer of a second term at the former. He chairs the Development Board at his old Cambridge college, and the Onside project will complete in late 2023 and open in 2024.
His focuses (outside his family of four children) are on improving life for young people through sport, education and better facilities; and with regard to business (and based on his experience with Betfair), in working out how regulation can more consistently simply safeguard consumers rather than stifling innovation and protecting incumbents at the expense of technologically-driven better models.
Mark is looking at ways that sport could become a more effective tool of public policy, to deliver solutions for government in health, education, and reducing crime.