Ebbe Groes, CEO of EveryMatrix, speaks in this interview to SBC News about the new client wins from 2016 taking place in a saturated marketplace with tougher technology demands from all stakeholders.
Ebbe, congratulations on your significant new client wins. How has your team achieved bringing in these new businesses aboard?
Thank you. We are of course delighted to bring aboard 25 new operators from Europe and Asia, while securing the White Label Partner of the Year at EGR B2B Awards in London for the 3rd time.
This positive development and our success at the EGR Awards comes partly from product development, partly from a better organized sales team.
Regarding development, our sportsbook took major leaps ahead in both live event coverage and adding betting options. We’re now in the very top of the game for live betting, with a peak of 23,000 live events per month. At the same time, our casino solution preserved its top position in the industry as the largest casino games aggregator with more than 3,000 games available, while recording fast integration of new casino vendors.
As for the sales approach, what we are doing differently is the distribution of the sales team, going local to go global if you like. We now have sales staff in Bucharest, Malta, Copenhagen, Yerevan, and Manila – and in all cases with account managers to help smooth the process from sales team to live operations. Earlier we had a centralized sales and account management team. Of course there are hiccups with such large changes but early results are clearly promising.
From the list of new clients, I’d highlight a few such as Ekstra Bladet, which is Denmark’s largest newspaper, Sporting Index, the leading spread betting company, Codeta, an innovative live casino focused operator, and Wunderino, a smooth mobile oriented casino experience from a very strong team.
How has the international expansion tested your company’s leadership and management? What new factors has your business seen from expansion in Europe and Asia?
Well, it has really tested my ability to work on the road. Indeed, I’m replying to your questions from a mobile office. That aside, it’s very clear how globalization puts a strain on the flexibility of the software you provide.
For us the conclusion is two-fold:
First of all, we must be able to adapt easily to local conditions on our side. We’ve taken big steps for this already by splitting out game and payment integration, away from our core platform, allowing much easier building and maintenance of integrations.
Second, by not resorting to templating when we build sites we can approach what clients need for their local success. And, often even better, we’ve seen a growing number of clients building own front ends on the back of our Web API.
This was recently extended to also allow building of mobile Native Apps and within the next couple of months even sports betting front ends will be possible for clients to build themselves. By lowering this cost, we have seen better results and we’re now working on tool kits to make it even easier. After all, the local client knows better than us what a player is looking for and can react to player feedback easily in this way.
For Asia, one special challenge has been the widespread use of Agent systems and I’m proud to say that our own agent management system, the highly flexible new PartnerMatrix software – which includes even an advanced affiliate system for European markets – is already live with its first client. For sure more iterations are needed to satisfy the demands in Asia, but a really promising start for PartnerMatrix.
As a platform EveryMatrix has gained a strong reputation for helping bring new brands to market. How does your technology and services achieve initial market goals for new incumbents?
But front end is not all. We’ve seen in the past how important CRM and business intelligence is for player retention and value optimization. After doing several long and quite complex CRM integrations for different clients this area too is now being overhauled with EveryMatrix and we’re on the verge of launching the first such CRM integration with a far easier modular approach that still retains the ability to send information in real-time to third party CRM systems. And after all, it’s when the deposit is made or the big loss occurred that you want to message players in real-time.
As you may notice, our interest resides not only in assisting new startup businesses reach the market, but just as much to help service our existing clients. If they don’t grow, then we don’t. Extending the capabilities for the above mentioned APIs is one of the key ways to do this. Our road maps are heavily influenced by such requests, and rightly so.
As EveryMatrix expands its client portfolio, you will likely meet new challenges with regards to individual stakeholder demands. How do you envision your team managing these new challenges?
We’re seeing larger and more competent clients with EveryMatrix. This, in a good way, forces us to raise our levels of competence. And this goes across both sales, support and account management. In order to meet stakeholder demands we have to first understand them!
I mentioned before how we sought localization of sales and account management to get closer to both leads and clients, to understand the landscape they operate in, their players, competitors, and regulators.
But there’s another dynamic as well. When we present our (wonderful) CasinoEngine product to a highly experience casino manager, we need to match that expertise, whether lead or client, to achieve a full understanding of the demands. For this reason, we’re now adding a layer of sales and account managers who rather than being local are product specialists. We seek to be the best in sports, casino, payments, and to do that our client facing staff needs to be more knowledgeable.
So, in the end, we envision a mix of the two, the daily local interaction and the less frequent product focused interaction.
Deeper Intelligence and client flexibility have been sought after competencies in 2016. From a leadership perspective how do you ensure that these dynamics are being met?
I touched upon our Web API for easily building a totally unique front end experience and the new real-time data API for informing client CRM systems about relevant actions of the players. We’ve come far in both directions, probably as far as anyone in the industry, but for sure there’s more to be done in both areas.
To some extent we’re limited by the ability of the other actors in the industry, but our job must be to push those limits. For instance, some live dealer vendors today allow you to obtain statistics for last rolls of the roulette. Not all, but some. We’d like to put this in the API, presented uniformly across the vendors, allowing a client to push this into the live dealer lobby much like you see in a poker lobby with real-time data from tables, yet of course more challenging being from multiple sources. One could even alert the player to some roulette table where a certain pattern occurred, say five even numbers in a row. It is important to keep pushing the boundaries and let clients choose what works, allowing innovation on the client side.
On a higher level, we have moved steadily more towards breaking our solution apart such that you can go all the way from a full one-stop-shop delivery from EveryMatrix to only choosing what you need and couple with other applications, from other B2B providers or in-house. Our sportsbook, our casino engine, our affiliate system all today have clients with only that one product, and 2017 will see us launching clients only with our payment product, MoneyMatrix.
And on the regulatory dimension we give full flexibility as well. Some clients utilize our operator licences, others operate on their own, with EveryMatrix providing pure software services. We even have clients with a mix of both – or combinations changing over time. In a landscape that’s rapidly changing, this regulatory flexibility becomes increasingly important and has been an area of substantial investment for EveryMatrix.
Finally, as the online betting and iGaming sectors develop new processes and functions, what industry legacy values do you feel will be challenged by these new dynamics?
I don’t think new processes or innovations in the iGaming arena are here to challenge the industry legacy values, but I really believe they will only improve the iGaming world.
If I have to name a tendency in online gaming, I would mention the strong requests from players to access the same gaming content on multiple devices, no matter the name of the platform.
The possibility of offering the same gaming content on multiple devices requires advanced technologies and a growing usage of APIs, which have the role to serve the requested gaming content on various platforms.
This creates a double challenge I believe, not only for software providers, but for gambling operators too.
If we are able to build new protocols and structures to deliver flexible solutions that can be integrated into our clients’ platforms, operators are under similar pressure to address different audiences with similar content and respect the players’ demands for seamless user experiences.
For us, a logical next step is to start supporting various land-based gaming modes and I see this happening in 2017.
In the end, I would like to add that technological improvements and the newest player demands are strongly related and we – as a software provider – can only observe these evolution and do our best to adapt our products and our marketing approach to match our clients’ requirements.
The original version of this article has been published by SBC News on October 6, 2016 under the title SBC Leader Profile: Ebbe Groes -EveryMatrix – Meeting growth targets & new demands.