FanDuel co-founder Lesley Eccles has said the fantasy sports gaming group is moving forward with plans to start operating outside its core market of the United States.

Ms Eccles, who started the business with husband Nigel and three others in 2009, said a UK launch was planned “soon”.

Speaking at the annual Business in the Parliament event at Holyrood she said: “We are looking at how we take this out of America and into other countries.

“It is clear we still have a lot of upside and growth.”

The executive vice-president of marketing and acquisitions at FanDuel, which specialises in daily games, also told the crowd about the difficulties of raising money when the business was still in its early stages.

She outlined how the Edinburgh company pitched to more than 90 venture capitalists during 2011 but were consistently told there was no market for them or that it was too small to build a business of scale around.

Eventually they raised in the region of around $4m with the Scottish Co-Investment Fund and Pentech Ventures among the early backers.

It has since gone on to raise more than $300m with investors now including Time Warner and Google.

Ms Eccles said: “It is a lot easier to raise money when you don't need it. I can't tell you how hard it is to do when you need it.”

According to Ms Eccles FanDuel now has more than one million active players taking part in its daily games.

It expects to pay out around $2 billion in prize money this year.

Ms Eccles said: “That is how much money is going through FanDuel on an annual basis.”

The fantasy sports market in the US is said to have grown from 30 million players when the business started to more than 50 million today.

She also outlined some of the practical difficulties of a fast-growing business such as finding suitable accommodation particularly when most landlords want companies to sign up for 10-year leases.

Ms Eccles added: “How can I make that commitment with not knowing how many employees we will have in a year’s time never mind 10 years?”

Staff numbers at the business have gone from around 120 to close to 500 over the past two years. Around half of those people work in the company’s Edinburgh headquarters and Glasgow office.

Ms Eccles also admitted to attendees at the event, which included First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, that the founders did not have a deep knowledge of US sports when they first started.

She said: “Fantasy football in America is part of the psyche, it is a way of life.

“The interesting thing about the marketplace was that it was static. It was ripe for disruption. We wanted to really shake things up.

“I knew nothing about sports, I didn't even like football, football. We had a hell of a lot to learn.”

Ms Eccles indicated FanDuel would also continue to pursue organic growth and acquisitions.

In recent months it has snapped up companies including Edinburgh based mobile app developer Kotikan, the sports gaming arm of Zygna, analytics firm numberFire and US-based e-sports provider Alphadraft.