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Thu 28th Jul 2022 - State of Play Hospitality secures $10m investment from Flight Club-owner Red Engine
State of Play Hospitality secures $10m investment from Flight Club-owner Red Engine: State of Play Hospitality, the Toby Harris-led group, is to accelerate the expansion of the Flight Club brand in North America after securing $10m (£8.3m) of new investment from the dart concept’s owner, Red Engine. The new funding builds upon State of Play’s initial raise of more than $35m from existing investors and Bregal Partners in March 2022 and will be used to fund growth, including an acceleration of the roll-out of Flight Club in North America. State of Play currently operates Flight Club venues under licence in Chicago, Boston and Houston and is set to open new venues in Atlanta and Las Vegas by the end of 2022. An opening in Denver has also been lined up for early 2023. Red Engine’s investment gives it a minority stake in State of Play and Steve Moore, co-founder and chief executive of Red Engine, will join the State of Play board as a non-executive director. The group’s growth strategy will include a “significant acceleration” in the pace of the Flight Club roll-out in the US and Canada, as well as growing its wider portfolio of experiential concepts including ping pong sister brands Bounce and AceBounce, and its new bingo concept, Hijingo. Harris said the company has identified a large number of potential Flight Club locations across North America and told Propel the company expects to open at least another two sites in North America in 2023. “I would like to open up to four next year,” he said. “And then when we look into 2024 and onwards, the hope and expectation is to get into the five or six openings a year pattern. That’s the sweet spot we see on an owned and operated basis as regards to expanding Flight Club in North America, and that includes Canada. We expect to be operating in Canada within the next couple of years.” Harris said the company was in legals on a couple of sites for its concepts in the UK, with one it hopes to announce in the next six to eight weeks, and that there are “several other opportunities that we’re actively engaged in”. He also said that discussions were at an early stage with local partners in regards to taking Hijingo and Bounce into other international territories. He said: “I’m delighted to welcome Red Engine as an investor, and Steve, who joins our board. Their investment marks the beginning of a new and exciting phase in our Flight Club partnership in North America. Raising over $45m of growth capital speaks volumes about the quality of the State of Play team, and it gives the business a very strong platform to accelerate the roll-out of our concepts internationally.” Moore added: “It’s been a pleasure to have been on the Flight Club journey in North America with Toby, Alan Cichon and their team since 2018 and we’re excited to continue to support them as a partner and investor.” Red Engine launched the first Flight Club in London’s Shoreditch in 2015, with sister concept Electric Shuffle following in 2019. Red Engine currently has 12 owner operated venues and another four operating under licence in North America and Australia.

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