EStars Announce New Board Members

03 March 2023, Abu Dhabi, UAE

EStars are delighted to announce that Gavin Petken and Ed Woodward are joining the Board of EStars as Non Executive Directors. Gavin and Ed bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the company

About EStars

EStars is an educational esports company at the heart of the fastest-growing sport in the world. Since its founding in 2017, EStars has been a leader in educational esports, bringing classmates together, both during and after school hours, to foster great academic goals, inclusion, diversity and positive outcomes.

EStars has developed and hosted almost 100 live grassroots esports events in the UK and Ireland and had a pop up store in Dubai Mall.  EStars flagship office is in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where it is a member of the AD Gaming community.

Today, EStars is an award-winning provider of educational esports. In November 2022, EStars were awarded a prestigious GESS Award for the “ESports Club being the best product to enhance wellbeing in the classroom”.  In February 2023, EStars became accredited by the world’s leading education provider, Pearson Education to deliver BTECs in Esports, at Level 2 and Level 3, bringing EStars’ industry knowledge to the forefront of these qualifications.

EStars provides a one stop solution for education bodies and governing entities to understand and embrace educational esports – from advising on esports room designs, delivering the ESports Club for younger students right through to the BTEC curriculum, which provides high-quality, career-focused qualifications with real-world applications. Surpassing the highest standards, EStars BTECs are developed through a collaboration of industry experts, educators and employers, helping students to develop the transferable skills that universities and employers today search for amongst candidates.

EStars are the first industry experts accredited by Pearson Education to deliver BTECs in Esports in the MENA Region.

Speaking about the appointments, EStars CEO & Founder, Mags Byrne said: “EStars has evolved from a grassroots live events company to working with and helping students through educational esports initiatives, using the power of gaming to develop core skills and achieve amazing results.  I am delighted to welcome Gavin and Ed to be a part of this exciting journey with EStars as we continue our growth in educational esports.”  

Gavin said: “I am thrilled to be joining the board of EStars. Esports is becoming an increasingly important industry, especially given the pace of technological change and its rapidly accelerating market size.  The delivery of education in this field by EStars, from a position of knowledge and experience, has tremendous potential to target a region with some of the highest levels of interest from both a demographic and strategic perspective. It’s an honor to be part of this incredible journey.”

Ed said: “When you put together esports, education and a dynamic region such as the Middle East, where curriculum decisions can be made faster than Europe, it is a recipe for success. Joining the team is an easy decision when you add the exceptional leadership and entrepreneurial energy of Mags. I’m excited about EStars delivering a path of learning for the next generation in the (relatively) new industry of esports.

Information about EStars – Key Shareholders

Mags Byrne

Mags Byrne is the sole founder of EStars. She has built the EStars brand from an initial idea and concept to what it is today, an educational esports provider working with the world’s largest education group, Pearson Education. Mags is a dual-qualified lawyer and has in the past been shortlisted for ‘in-house lawyer of the year’ by the English Law Society, been listed amongst Business for Sports 50 Women of Influence in Irish Sport and won Entrepreneur of the Year at the Luxury Law Summit in 2022. Mags has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Ulster University for her Services to Sport.  Mags has held CEO, Director level and advisory roles for various governing bodies and sporting institutes including The English FA Council, The English Premier League, Sunderland AFC and England Boxing.

Tim Krul

Tim Krul is a Dutch professional footballer, who plays as a goalkeeper.  Tim has represented the Netherlands at every level since 2002 and has made 222 English Premier League appearances.  Tim currently plays for Norwich Football Club.  He is a businessman with an interest in property, technology and education.  Tim has been a shareholder of EStars since its inception in 2017.  

Gavin Petken

Gavin is co-founder of Airstream Ventures and a venture capital investor with over 30 years’ experience across multiple asset classes and sectors. He was previously Head of Investment at the Business Growth Fund, responsible for leading investment and portfolio teams across 16 offices and over 250 private equity investments. He was also a member of BGF’s national executive leadership team, investment committee, ethics committee, and responsible for managing BGF’s investment activity into public companies and life sciences. Before BGF, Gavin was a Managing Director in Private Equity with Royal Bank of Scotland plc for 13 years and is also currently a director of UK public company, Victoria PLC.

Ed Woodward

Ed Woodward qualified as a Chartered Accountant at PwC and then worked at JPMorgan as an investment banker in the M&A Department, predominantly involved with technology companies. In 2005, Ed joined Manchester United Football Club, assuming responsibility for commercial operations which then increased over six fold. In 2008, Ed was appointed to the Board of Directors and he assumed the role of Executive Vice Chairman until 2022. Ed was also on the board of the European Club Association (“ECA”) and Deputy Chairman of UCC SA, the joint venture between UEFA and ECA, which focused on commercialisation of all European football competitions including the Champions League.


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