Online tips straight from horse's mouth for race fans
When Cheltenham kicks off this Tuesday, Dublin man, Cillian Barry will know more about the horse-racing tips flying around about the festival than most of us.
Barry and his brother-in-law, Eugene Cosgrove, run RaceCaller – a website which allows horse-racing fans to share racing banter and, of course, tips.
The pair decided to set up the company about four years ago after spotting a gap in social media for horse-racing fans. Cosgrove came from a horse-racing family while Barry was a marketing consultant and was involved with pigsback.com.
"I had been working in the online space since 1999," said Barry. "I had always wanted to set up my own business and Cosgrove was just out of college. At the time, there was nowhere for horse-racing fans to get together online and chat about the next race."
RaceCaller allows horse racing fans to share thoughts and tips about upcoming races – and to compete against others to become the best tipster.
As the website is free for fans to use, the company makes its money from licensing its social software – as well as from advertising.
The first few years were tough as the business was self-funded. "However, about a year-and-a-half ago, the business really started to take off and make a profit," said Barry.
About 400,000 new people visit the website every month, with most of those visiting the site from Britain, and about one in 20 from Ireland, according to Barry. "Our visitor numbers are doubling each year," said Barry.