Sportpesa CEO, Ronald Karauri, during an interview at his Chancery office. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLOSportpesa CEO, Ronald Karauri, during an interview at his Chancery office. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO
By DAVID KWALIMWA

SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri has lifted the lid on some of the sacrifices he’s had to make to transform the Kenyan gaming firm into – in his own words – ‘the fastest growing’ in the world.

In an interview with K24 TV, the ever smiling CEO said he had to sell a piece of his land at Sh25 million to buy and invest in a 6 percent stake in SportPesa at the time the company was formed.

“This turned out to be a good investment all round because I had bought the same piece of land for Sh2 million,” he says.

SportPesa has, since its inception in 2014, transformed into not only the biggest gaming brand in the country, but also, one that associates with the finest sports brands in the world that include English football clubs Arsenal, Southampton, Hull City and Everton. SportPesa is the official shirt sponsor of the latter two clubs.

SPONSORSHIP DEALS

In Africa, the company also boasts shirt sponsorship deals worth billions of Kenyan shillings with top football sides such as Cape Town City (South Africa), AFC Leopards, Gor Mahia and Nakuru All Stars (Kenya) Simba, Yanga and Singida (Tanzania) plus the Kenya national rugby team.

The company also recently awarded the biggest jackpot pay-off in Africa, worth Sh221 million (about $2 million) to Samuel Abisai.

Karuari, a retired pilot, also shared some of the challenges has faced in his career including having to feed on pasta every day during his training in Ethiopia.

“That’s the only food I could eat in Addis. It wasn’t easy,” the Mangu High School alumnus recalls.

The father of two, who admits he is in love with bars and motor racing, confidently states that he is keen to transform the company into the biggest company in the world.

He has advised Kenyans to always believe in something and work hard to ensure it is successful.