Sports booking platform Playfinder secures backing from ex-Premier League director

A British technology start-up which helps leisure enthusiasts find and book sports venues has secured a new round of funding backed by a former director of the Premier League.

Sky News understands that Playfinder, which counts the Football Foundation among its partners, has raised a six-figure sum from investors including Kevin Beeston, who stepped down as a board member of England's top flight earlier this year.

The company, which gained B-Corp certification because of its social impact work, helps to improve access to sport for players from deprived areas and under-represented groups.

Playfinder has registered more than 100,000 monthly users and 800 venues across the country.

It raised £1m from investors last year, as well as £735,000 on the crowdfunding platform Crowdcube.

The company was awarded a contract with the Football Foundation to provide a smart access system for its £33m PlayZones project, which involves building 300 pitches in areas of high deprivation across England.

One person close to the company said Playfinder's work was relevant to a £58m government programme to establish new school sports facilities, which is expected to be announced shortly.

The programme is aimed at boosting accessibility to school facilities outside of normal education hours.

Jamie Foale, Playfinder's founder, said: "Having established Playfinder as a leading platform for sports players and invested in the technology for venues to automate their operations, we're delighted to receive this funding which will accelerate our expansion across the country at a time when there is an urgency to increase the accessibility of sport for everyone."

Other investors in the latest round included Armajaro Holdings, Altaris Partners and Sandford Loudon, a partner at Oakvale Capital, the sports and gaming-focused investment bank..