April 20, 2024

John Delaney, Founder of Intrade, Dies at 42

His death was announced on the Intrade Web site.

Mr. Delaney, whose wife gave birth to a child prematurely while he was scaling the mountain, was part of an expedition trying to reach the summit on the north side of Everest when he became ill, said Pat Falvey, a friend of Mr. Delaney’s who has been in contact with the expedition’s base camp. No further details were provided.

Intrade, based in Dublin, is an online exchange that allows customers to buy and sell contracts, wagering on the outcome of a future event. Intrade and other similar markets serve as an aggregator of individual opinions that are then boiled down to signal the direction of popular wisdom.

Intrade bettors accurately anticipated the resignation of Donald H. Rumsfeld as defense secretary in 2006 as well as the capture of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Intrade market participants are currently betting that there is a 61 percent chance that President Obama will be re-elected in 2012; a 20 percent chance that Apple’s chief executive, Steve Jobs, will step down before the end of the year; and a 50 percent chance that the forthcoming third “Twilight” movie, “Breaking Dawn,” will have the highest box-office returns for 2011.

In 1999, Mr. Delaney founded Trade Exchange Network, which operated online gambling exchanges, including Tradesports.com and Intrade.com. As it grew, the company raised millions of dollars from investors in Europe and the United States, including several large American hedge fund firms, according to documents filed with Ireland’s Companies Registration Office. Tradesports.com was later sold.

“What Intrade did is that it carved out a niche for itself in developing a whole site devoted to nonsports betting,” said Robin Hanson, an associate professor of economics at George Mason University.

Eric Zitzewitz, an associate professor of economics at Dartmouth who has studied prediction markets, said Intrade was one of the biggest players in the field and “by far the most quoted market for elections as well as obscure things, like ‘Will Osama Bin Laden be caught?’ ”

Intrade says that it has more than 100,000 registered users and that it handles hundreds of millions of dollars in trades annually.

Mr. Delaney was born in 1969 near Dublin. He was an accountant early in his career, and earned an M.B.A. in finance from University College Dublin. .

In an e-mailed statement, Carl Wolfenden, an operations manager at Intrade, said it had been Mr. Delaney’s lifelong ambition to climb Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak.

“A keen mountaineer who had scaled several of the world’s highest peaks, John was on his second expedition to Everest, having been beaten back by bad weather on his first attempt five years ago,” the statement said.

Late Friday evening, a team of eight climbers, eight sherpas and two guides left high camp at 27,230 feet, trying to reach the summit, Mr. Falvey said, relaying an e-mail message he had received from Alex Abramov, the leader of 7 Summits Club, which organized the expedition.

At around 28,870 feet , however, in the early morning, Mr. Delaney began having problems.

He was moved down to 28,700 feet, where he collapsed and was later pronounced dead. Because of the dangerous conditions at that elevation, Mr. Delaney’s body will remain on the peak, Mr. Falvey said.

Mr. Delaney is survived by his wife, Orla; his mother, Marcella Delaney; a brother, Christopher; a sister, Geraldine Cohen; two sons, Caspar and Alexander; and a daughter, Hope, who was born three days before he died.

“Her birth came prematurely,” Mr. Falvey said. “The family didn’t want to worry him, so they decided to wait until his return from the summit so that they could relay the good news to him.”

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=7864f9bf42185449f221fed65b102a2c

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