The Quiet Ambition of Denise Coates

Building the Multi-Billion Dollar Bet365 Empire

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A personal update…

I’m in an exploratory phase of building Just Go Grind.

Since I’m also the only person working on this company, that inherently means I’m in an exploratory phase of my life. The two go hand in hand.

After being mostly heads down for more than a year since I started this newsletter and growing it to more than 20,000 subscribers I’ve been thinking… What’s next?

How does this business evolve?

What direction should I take it?

What do I want?

For the first time in a while, I’ve considered joining another company and working on Just Go Grind on the side. I’ve already had numerous conversations with some fascinating people.

Part of me misses working with a team. The bootstrapped solopreneur life can be tough and I’ve certainly had my share of struggles since quitting my job in May 2023.

Maybe I’d join a venture capital firm or a startup.

I’m not opposed to the idea, especially for a company that would benefit from what I’m building at Just Go Grind.

Alternatively, I’ve been contemplating what doubling down looks like - raising funding, building a team, and taking Just Go Grind to the next level.

As you may have seen recently, I’m also planning to host more events, regardless of my next move. Many people are craving in-person connection and I think I’m in a great position to help.

Why share all of this?

First, I’ve benefitted a lot from serendipity by putting my thoughts and ideas out into the world in the last decade. It’s a way to increase my luck surface area.

Second, building a company is hard, there are many ways to do it, and people aren’t typically candid about the uncertainty of it all and how your desires evolve as you build the company. Hopefully sharing a little of my thought process is helpful for at least one of you.

That said, reply to this email or send me a DM if you have any ideas for working together, the direction of Just Go Grind, or just want to say hello.


Justin’s Picks

The best links I’ve found this week

✅ A strategic guide to conferences for startups (LINK)

✅ The evolution of Y Combinator since 2008 (LINK)

✅ A quick story of how everything is negotiable (LINK)

✅ The top AI investors in New York (LINK)

✅ Why you shouldn’t build “yelp but for friends” (LINK)

Denise Coates, Founder of Bet365

Denise Coates - bet365

You probably don’t know who Denise Coates is.

I didn’t until a few months ago.

That’s intentional.

She’s one of the most under-the-radar billionaire founders.

Bet365, the British online gambling company she founded in 2000, made her the fourth richest self-made woman in the world.

But how’d she build it?

How’d she create a company with 7,000 employees and 90 million customers when competitors had jumped at the online gambling opportunity before her?

Let’s get to it.

Early Days

The rise of Denise Coates can be traced back to her father, Peter.

Growing up in poverty, but determined to climb out of it, Peter Coates started a catering business focused on sporting events after years of working at a chain restaurant.

Peter parlayed the success of his catering business into Provincial Racing.

Provincial Racing, which Denise later described as, “A small chain of pretty rubbish betting shops,” was where she worked during college at the University of Sheffield.

It provided the foundation upon which she’d build an empire.

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