Connect with us

Interviews

Meet Jakob Hagemann, Founder and CEO of Kiggit, social betting company based in Copenhagen

Zoltan Tundik

Published

on

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Social betting has always been a key part of the industry and it seems that companies are still fighting for innovation in the vertical. Such the company of Jakob Hagemann, who is the CEO & Founder of the social sports betting platform Kiggit.

With a background in mobile apps product management and experience of working with a mobile operator, Jakob has always been launching and managing apps. This is how he came up with the idea of launching Kiggit,  a social betting app for football fans. The description of the game play is simple and yet complex, users get 500 credits when signing up, and can spend it on bets against other users or in private bets with friends. They push out daily and weekly bet slips for specific target users which include prize bets. Examples are gitcards for Amazon, Nike or digital gift card provider. The company’s revenue model is that users spend credits in their bets and can win more. If running out of credits, users top-up via in-app purchase.

The company is headquartered in Copenhagen and it is run by 6 people working on Kiggit. Their investors include Seier Capital and a group of business angels. Next step is to create a mother brand as they are broadening out to include other sports and various products so they can integrate with sports media companies, sports betting operators and even large corporations wishing to run closed office pools.

First of all thank you very much for accepting this interview. As it can be read in your biography you have rich experience in end-to-end product management including team management, prototyping and idea generation, management of design and development phase, go-to-market and commercialization, ASO, product management. I would like to ask you to shortly introduce yourself to our readers and tell us when and why you started working in this industry.

Jakob: I have been working with apps for a lot of years now. Actually, from before the iPhone hit the market, so a lot has happened since then. I am not a developer myself, but have more of a product-oriented role although in a startup you end up doing a lot of stuff.

I had the idea of creating something social around football for years before setting up Kiggit as a company back in 2013. My friends and I have always created a betting pool when watching the Champions League final together. We basically, wrote down our tips with pen and paper. I wanted to take this experience and create a digital platform where friends and colleagues should be able to compete like that – no matter if they are sitting together or are in each their location.

You are the founder and CEO of Kiggit, a social sports betting platform. Tell us please about your role, your tasks and responsibilities at Kiggit.

Jakob: I am very product-focused, so I work a lot on wireframes, roadmaps and specifications for our designer and devleopers. I try not to get too distracted, but there is also a lot of work with investors and potential partners, and at times that really takes up all my time – and thoughts.

Will you please shortly introduce the company you represent for our readers? Please speak about the services it offers and its future goals in Europe and around the world.

Jakob: Kiggit is a social betting platform for football fans. Instead of betting for real money, we are developing a more game-like experience around football tips. Basically, we let you create or join groups and make predictions on football. There are weekly, monthly and season winners. We have tested out different flows and revenue streams, and are soon opening up for companies, so they can offer prizes on our platform. An example is that you will be able to join a Company X competition during the World Cup and win prizes from that company if you are best at predicting winners and goal scorers during the World Cup.

We have recently launched and the plan is now to update with the groups feature before the World Cup. We are looking at different interesting markets. Currently, approximately 60% of our users are from the US. We will be rolling out in LATAM, Asia and more European countries. Let’s see, I hope to be live in 20+ countries by the end of 2018.

Having such a rich professional experience my next question would be: which have been the most difficult periods in your career so far and what do you consider your personal success?

Jakob: To me personally, fundraising can be really tiring and put you under pressure. The most difficult times have definitely been the times where it has been very unsure if we could land an investment. It just brings out a lot of discussions and I had to learn how to better cope with the stress it involves to be under that kind of pressure.

Tell us please about your future plans, projects regarding your professional life.

Jakob: I really focus 100% on the short-term with Kiggit right now. Earlier I have been dreaming about selling the company and become a business angel myself, but I have much more focus on the smaller steps now as I simply need to act on those rather than always thinking years ahead. I am sure that if I work hard on Kiggit, we can make it big in one way or the other.

What does success mean to you and do you consider your career a successful one?

Jakob: Success to me is related to freedom. I really cherish the freedom I have being in a small company where we manage our own time and work when we want. I put in a lot of hours, but it is at my own schedule. I have two sons and a girlfriend, and I consider myself successful when I can spend so much time with them.

My last question is a bit more personal: Do you like travelling and which places would you like to travel not just in Europe but in the whole world?

Sure, I like travelling. I have just been to Madrid with my family to watch Atletico Madrid play. It was a great experience. I would love to take my family to Japan and see the country by train.

After starting out as an affiliate in 2009 and developing some recognized review portals, I have moved deeper into journalism and media. My experience has lead me to move into the B2B sector and write about compliance updates and report around the happenings of the online and land based gaming sector.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Comments

Cryptocurrency

Exclusive Interview with Stefan Kovach, CCO at FunFair Technologies

Zoltan Tundik

Published

on

Reading Time: 4 minutes

This week we are diving into blockchain technology and we are taking a look at how the “phenomenon” is change the online gambling landscape, even if some refuse to admit it. Stefan Kovach is currentlythe CCO of FunFair Technologies and he is a senior commercially minded marketer with over 20 years of experience in the travel, entertainment and gaming sectors, having worked for organisations ranging from Virgin Atlantic, Opodo, bwin and PokerStars. He has extensive experience in creating and nurturing brands, acquiring and retaining customers at scale as well as helping drive commercial and product strategies. Stefan’s previous roles enabled him to build and manage significant teams, manage marketing P&Ls running into the 10s of millions and responsibility for delivering high profile cross company projects. Here is our interview and we hope that you enjoy it!

There have been quite a few changes in the online gambling landscape in the last 12 months, partly thanks to the blockchain. What do you think are the key challenges operators are facing when opting to move from “traditional” operations to a blockchain platform?

Stefan: Although it is true that blockchain technology has been one of the most exciting advances within the online gambling landscape in the past year, there are, as yet, very few viable products actually available to the market. Whilst many other blockchain gambling businesses are very much still in the development phase, FunFair is at the forefront of this curve, already having a working and operational platform following a successful beta phase.

Traditional operators need to decide whether they see blockchain platforms as a threat, or alternatively, as a diverse revenue stream that taps into an existing and vast crypto-rich audience who are conducive to gambling by their very nature.

Luckily, traditional operators won’t need to choose one operating style above the other, blockchain gambling can act as a complimentary section of their existing business, allowing platforms to diversity their offering and audience without risk to their pre-existing business model. This is especially true when operators take advantage of the consultancy we offer when onboarding and educating customers.

We feel that, in the next 5 years or so, there will be a shift in online gambling, and with rumours that HTC is launching a blockchain phone later this year, this will surely change the mobile gambling industry as well. Do you feel that this is an area you will look at in the future?

Stefan: Mobile gaming is absolutely part of our plans and we will have a first class UX on mobile when we go fully live. Blockchain technology works in the same way across platforms, albeit sometimes different browsers are required.

Any established company, such as HTC, entering the blockchain space clearly demonstrates its relevance for all businesses in the future. We’ll always be looking to partner with those who are heading in the same direction as us as the learnings and combined investment can only speed up blockchain’s mainstream adoption.

We have reported on many blockchain gaming platform launches this year. Where does FunFair position itself in this innovative wave?

Stefan: We would firmly place ourselves as market leaders for a number of reasons. To start with, we are the only platform to offer a full ecosystem for operators, developers, affiliates and players who transact in our FUN token. We are also the only platform to offer production-level gaming quality which can challenge any tier one operator in traditional gamings. Current alternative blockchain titles are not only poor graphically and auditory, but run at unplayably slow speeds, not to mention the prohibitive transaction costs. We have bypassed these issues with our Fate Channels technology, which allows the gaming session to be taken off the blockchain, allowing it to run at the speeds and quality today’s gamers expect.

You have recently signed a deal with a market-leading poker rakeback affiliate, RaketheRake. Are affiliates making a good choice when opting to become operators?

Stefan: Affiliates have had to make do with diluted revenue share and often incorrect payments which are shared by operators at their will. Using the FunFair platform,they can become operators within days and take the entire revenue stream direct, while utilising their existing marketing expertise and captive player audience.

Affiliates can also continue to benefit from the FunFair platform as an affiliate, with real-time payments that are provably fair and paid in real-time on the blockchain, rather than having to trust casino operators as they do currently.

Do you think that regulators will eventually catch up and regulate the industry?

Stefan: Of course, any positive disruption will take time for regulators to size up and decide on a course of action, but the FunFair platform and blockchain technology itself ticks so many of the boxes they are looking for; from efficient KYC and provably fair RNG to the immediate release of funds, it really is a regulatory bullseye.

We are trying to lead the charge here and are in discussions with a number of relevant bodies. As you’d expect, some are more progressive than others, but we’re confident that as blockchain becomes adopted into the mainstream, they will regulate sensibly for all.

About FunFair

FunFair was born out of a powerful idea to harness the potential of the blockchain to initiate a revolution in online gaming.

FunFair founders Jez San, Oliver Hopton and Jeremy Longley saw the potential of the blockchain in early 2013. They wanted answers to difficult questions. Could anyone use the blockchain to run a casino? Why do players worry about trusting online casinos when the blockchain could create fair, transparent gaming? Why not use the blockchain to open up online gaming globally? These ambitious questions led to the development of a new technology that has the potential to profoundly change the gaming world.

We showed our first game in Paris in 2017. The response was so positive, we knew we were on to a winner. Jez San officially launched FunFair publicly in April 2017. The impact of this new technology immediately attracted the attention of major contributors and developers, eager to get involved. On 22 June 2017, our Phase 1 Token Presale raised $26 million, selling out in 4 hours.

Since then FunFair has delivered exciting games on our prototype demo platform, and we’re in the final stages of completing the new Ethereum technology platform which will showcase at DEVCON3 in November 2017. The next radical change in online gaming is being powered by FunFair; the first global gaming brand to unlock the true potential of the blockchain.

For more details, visit funfair.io

Continue Reading

Daily Fantasy Sports

Exclusive Interview with Dennis Tsalikis (CEO at Fantasy Sport Interactive)

Niji Ng

Published

on

By

Photo credits: European Gaming Media
Reading Time: 6 minutes

It is always nice to catch up with successful people and get a glimpse into their extensive knowledge. This week I had the pleasure to interview a serial entrepreneur with extensive experience in setting up and managing businesses in diverse sectors. Dennis Tsalikis is co-founder and CEO of Fantasy Sports Interactive, an entrepreneur who decided to combine his passion for Fantasy Sports with his skill in establishing successful businesses.

Dennis has an engineering background and prior to starting his own business ventures, he was employed at Vertu.

After establishing his Higher Technical Education with a University degree in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering and gaining hands-on working experience as a CNC operator at N. Bazigos S.A, Dennis proceeded to acquire a Master’s Degree (MS) in Composite Materials, from London’s Imperial College. Below is our exclusive interview with Dennis, hope you enjoy it!

Let’s begin with a few words about yourself. Our readers love to know how top-class entrepreneurs describing themselves.

Dennis: Fervent. Down to earth,with a positive outlook. Demanding, but fair. Always striving for the best, first and foremost for my people and then in terms of personal accomplishment.

You have studied engineering and science in some of the foremost institutions in Europe, and have had a stellar industrial career. What made you switch to something seemingly different like betting and fantasy sports?

Dennis: For me, engineering and science are the foundations of constructive thinking and a solid professional background. Our Co-Founder, Bill Mexias, and I, got to know fantasy football while working in the UK at Barclays and Vertu respectively, as a team-bonding activity in the workplace. We immediately realized that fantasy football would become the next big thing in gaming and we could see that fantasy sports were the perfect option, combining innovation with great business potential.

You have made your debut in the gaming sector when you co-founded Bet4theBest.com? Did the launch and subsequent performance of the company go according to the plans? Would like to hear your experiences?

Dennis: Bet4theBest was my debut in the gaming industry, an amazing and most positive experience. We managed to establish a tight-knit and effective core team, sharing a common passion in fantasy sports and skill gaming. Internally speaking, we learned a lot in this difficult and demanding journey, while on a collective, industry level, we were part of a generation of operators that managed to bring Fantasy Sports in Europe and to the spotlight. We are most proud about being the first licensed fantasy sports operators in Europe to launch under a wide and impactful marketing strategy, including mass media such as the newspapers and the radio alongside digital marketing. Furthermore, Bet4theBest was a successful Proof of Concept and a product that caught the attention of the UK fantasy football audience, one of the most mature and demanding audiences in the industry.

It has been close to a year since you launched Fantasy Sports Interactive Ltd.  How is it going now? Would like to hear some stats and details about major deals.

Dennis: Fantasy Sports Interactive (FSI) is the next level of our Fantasy Sports business venture and the main, B2B act after our B2C opening. During our original business planning, we had foreseen the future need of the market for reliable white label fantasy sports solutions. Our platform has been designed to increase customer attraction, enrich Marketing strategy, provide competitive content and an exciting gaming experience. Our tailored offering led us to a very satisfying first year, featuring a partnership with Gauselmann’s subsidiaries, Cashpoint and Xtip, in progress, a successful World Cup launch and ongoing collaboration in Africa with Africabet.com and a couple of more projects, including our future launch in India with Indus Games.A very important piece of information I can share with you now, is the development of an exclusive, breakthrough Fantasy product, which we plan to announce at ICE 2019.

It is already a crowded market of gaming software developers. What makes Fantasy Sports Interactive stand apart in the crowd?

Dennis: The winning combination of Fantasy Sports Interactive is that variety, versatility and innovation. Our goal is to offer original products going beyond standard market formats and this is what makes us stand apart. Our We make customized fantasy products for fantasy sports betting, social gaming, skill gaming, in mobile-first, online and retail formats. We offer back-end support services, flexible marketing solutions and consulting, making results and meaningful customer relationships a top priority. However, the most important part of FSI is our team, which is high-skilled and most experienced in the fantasy betting industry.

In the USA sports betting is likely to grow significantly in the coming years, following a recent US Supreme Court order that allows states to decide on legalizing sports betting. What are your thoughts on the development? How it is going to affect the gaming industry, and gaming software developing companies in particular?

Dennis: I think that everyone in the iGaming industry was expecting the US market  to open at some point. The PASPA court ruling made this possible and it is groundbreaking, since it opened the doors to a wide market of consumers who have been seeking to enjoy legal and regulated gaming services for some time now. The US audience is one of key importance; It has a strong affinity for Fantasy Sports, but at the same time it needs further education in betting and igaming. The skill gaming element is very important and this will require software companies to become more versatile and flexible. This is why we feel that FSI is ready for the US market, with a mature, tested product, combining fantasy sports with betting options.

Fantasy sports have been evolving all the time. How do you see it developing further in the near future, amidst the rise of new disruptive technologies?

Dennis: Indeed, Fantasy Sports have evolved greatly, from the classic season-long model, to the various daily fantasy options available today. I think that contemporary technologies and the lasting internet boom will lead to further progress and gamification, with more clear and mature fantasy products developed around instant and social gaming. Gaming technology will evolve under a customer-centric model, with bet types where the user has full control and a wide range of options to choose from.


Here are a few more details about Dennis and FSI:

Dennis chose to exploit his industrial background and expand the valuable experience he gained in business, by shaping Genesis World Trans, an international cargo services company, which already counts 12 years of successful activity.

While being the Managing Director of Genesis World Trans since 2008, Dennis continued to explore all aspects of business activity and decided to pursue his entrepreneurial vision, by founding one of the first Fantasy Sports Companies in Europe.

In 2014, together with Bill Mexias, he Co-founded “Bet4theBest” – a B2C fantasy football company based in Malta and Athens and the first step of an innovative and ambitious business plan targeting the contemporary iGaming industry.

Bet4theBest operated under a soft launch since 2014 and its official launch within the UK in 2015, was marked by organized and intense marketing activity. Traditional wide-range marketing channels such as the newspapers and the radio (The Racing Post, Daily Star, Daily Mirror, talkSport), were combined with digital marketing activity and a well-known brand ambassador in retired footballer and BBC pundit Jermaine Jenas.

Bet4theBest is licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority and the UK Gambling Commission, servicing all locations covered by both Authorities. The company kept operating, offering a variety of fresh and competitive fantasy football games to consumers, until 2017 and served as a Proof of Concept for the white label products of the upcoming Fantasy Sports Software Company, Fantasy Sports Interactive (FSI).

Dennis Co-founded FSI in 2016, keeping the business core and philosophy of Bet4theBest, while further growing its dedicated team and the company’s caliber.

FSI is based in London and has an active branch in Athens, as well.

Under Dennis’s leadership and with an experienced team, the Business and IT divisions have been constantly developing the company and its Fantasy Sports products, aiming at continuous evolution and successful partnerships.

FSI already boasts two important iGaming partnerships, one already launched for the World Cup with Africabet.com and one being a work in progress with Gauselmann’s sportsbook subsidiary companies, Cashpoint and Xtip. In the meanwhile, the team has been working on projects yet to be announced, as well.

About FSI:

Fantasy Sports Interactive offers the most complete range of fantasy sports gaming options. It has been the first company to launch fantasy betting services in Europe through its own fantasy sport product, Bet4theBest, and gain hands-on B2C and marketing management experience.

Powered by our innovative platform and deep insight in fantasy sports betting and skill gaming, we provide tailored white-label solutions to iGaming operators, lotteries and business companies seeking a modern and effective customer acquisition tool.

We offer companies the opportunity to create an engaging, competitive and fully licensed iGaming product that fits each operational model like a glove.

FSI has developed the optimal Fantasy Sports Solution for every operator:

A complete software offering for the iGaming industry, designed to increase customer attraction, enrich Marketing strategy, provide competitive content and an exciting gaming experience.

Our offering includes:

  • Fantasy Sports gaming products
  • social gaming concepts
  • fantasy sportsbook and betting formats
  • online, mobile-first and retail options
  • backend support services
  • full adaptability in terms of Regulatory frameworks

For more details contact: maria.arnidou@fantasysportsinteractive.co.uk

Continue Reading

Interviews

Exclusive Interview with Andy Jarrett, CEO of Twelve40

Niji Ng

Published

on

By

Reading Time: 5 minutes

We have had an email interview with Andy Jarrett, CEO at Twelve40. He took time to provide some really insightful answers to our questions. He talks about his professional journey to the top of a major company, about the challenges and opportunities he faced during the impressive growth of Twelve40, and the company’s well-thought-out growth strategy.

He also introduces some of the latest offerings from Twelve40 and explains how the company is seamlessly incorporating new technologies into its existing development platform. Read his fascinating  answers below.

To begin with, tell us something about yourself and your career. It’s always nice to hear top-class professionals say a few words about themselves for our audience.

Andy: I have spent a great deal of my career in the technology and iGaming sectors, having held senior board positions at both Digital Jersey and Foreshore. Across those positions I have held responsibility for overseeing both product portfolios and strategic growth objectives. I also co-founded a successful big data business that is now headquartered in Scotland, alongside co-founding a fintech business that I have since exited.

My experiences in building both robust and scalable technology and working on a cross-jurisdictional basis have transferred well into the iGaming sector, and I’m looking forward to continuing to grow Twelve40 after a whirlwind first couple of years!

You became the CEO of Twelve40 after its merger with Code Collective about two years ago. Prior to that, Twelve40 became the first to get a remote gambling operator’s license from Jersey. What were your immediate challenges when taking charge of managing employees from two diverse work cultures at a moment of huge responsibility?

Andy: Having successfully undertaken the launch of Jersey’s iGaming proposition through Digital Jersey, the merger of Twelve40 and Code Collective was a crucial milestone in securing Jersey’s digital vision, bringing together an experienced and highly capable team with global export prospects and strong ambition.

There is of course always a challenge when it comes to bringing together two teams of people new to each other following any merger, but it is a hurdle that as a combined business we cleared with ease through our shared desire to deliver the highest quality lottery and iGaming experiences.

In two years’ time, Twelve40 has grown by making a string of integrations like Spiffx, VSoftCo and Wazdan. Can you shed more light on how the integrations have added value to Twelve40?

Andy: We are always looking to add value to the services that we offer to our clients through our platform, and being able to offer the best content across a wide range of verticals is core to that approach. Boosting our sporting profile through integrating Spiffx sports-betting games and VSoftCo virtuals has enhanced our multi-vertical approach, while we were proud to elevate our services by bringing on board Wazdan’s premium collection of top-performing slot titles.

The proposition here is a simple one – the more varied and high-quality content that we can offer to our clients, the more attractive our platform and technology is to potential partners. We have witnessed a great deal of interest in our services resulting from these integrations, and will continue to work with the iGaming’s top-tier providers to find the right products to complement our in-house offering.

One of the remarkable features of Twelve40’s growth has been its solid presence as an online lottery platform and game provider in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Was it a conscious decision to explore markets beyond Europe?

Andy: We provide our white label platform services to a range of clients in markets across the globe, including powering Africa’s largest jackpot through Afromillionslotto. While our robust, secure and scalable lottery infrastructure is more than capable of meeting the requirements of any global market, we do have a defined emerging market focus as part of our overall growth strategy. Lottery systems in such markets have tended to be built on outdated legacy technology, lacking in the flexibility required to meet the demands of the modern player. The ease and speed with which we are able to deploy our solutions empowers our partners to deliver true speed to market, while also providing them with the freedom they require to focus on their brand and market positioning.

At Twelve40, we offer a wide range of lottery solutions capable of satisfying a range of varied market demands. We offer both primary lottery services whereby we provide the RNG and related game systems, as well as secondary lottery services utilising another lottery’s numbers, such as the German national lottery. Our lottery messenger can provide tickets from global lotteries, allowing us to service the requirements of operators in markets all over the world, complemented by our thriving range of instant win games.

Twelve40 offers white label online lottery platforms, slot games and lotto solutions. How do you see blockchain technology and artificial intelligence changing the way online lottery being operated?

Andy: There is no doubting the influence that the current pace of change is having on all technological industries, and iGaming is certainly no different. AI can elevate a traditional gaming platform in a variety of ways, and innovative providers are already taking advantage. By way of example, smartly-deployed AI solutions assist in getting to know your customer-base, allowing for predictive analytics, leading to better corporate decision making and more efficient use of targeted marketing.

Furthermore, at Twelve40 we have moved quickly in recognising the potential of blockchain to shake-up the iGaming space, and we supply the all-new platform and certified back-end technology for the Wild Crypto gaming platform, launching in February 2018 following a successful token sale. The platform has been built from the ground up in order to best deliver an engaging crypto gaming experience, and as such is designed for 18 decimal places where traditional platforms only support two.

We place a great deal of emphasis on remaining ahead of the curve, and will continue to do so as we move forward to realise our strategic growth ambitions.

It has been reported that Twelve40 is going to introduce an instant win game with the Football World Cup theme. Have you launched it? What are your other immediate launch plans?

Andy: We have indeed. We recently launched Lucky Shootout, an instant win game released with the World Cup in mind and an innovative feature set that we are confident will see it lay claim to enduring popularity long after the tournament draws to a close. Taking the form of a penalty shootout, Lucky Shootout gives players the opportunity to select their favourite teams and challenge a goalkeeper in the ultimate test of nerves. We put a lot of work into making sure players could engage with the experience through the emoting of the goalkeeper, a colourful character with both the agility to pull off a great save and the attitude to let the player know they were fortunate to score.

The game is scalable and customisable to the requirements of individual operators and jurisdictions, and its innovative feature set will see its popularity continue to endure.

We already offer a diverse range of expertly-constructed instant win games such as Pumpkin Master and Money Tree, and have also recently added Pirates Gone Wild, a swashbuckling adventure that sees players match a variety of nautical symbols to uncover buried treasure.

 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
NSoft
Advertisement
BetConstruct

Subscribe to our News via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to our news and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Latest by author

Trending

We are constantly showing banners about important news regarding events and product launches. Please turn AdBlock off in order to see these areas.