SBC catches up with EIG Start-up Launchpad judge Fintan Costello to discuss the development and progress of industry innovation a key subject matter and debate at EIG Berlin (October 20-22).
Former Head of eGaming at Google, Costello who has recently set-up igaming marketing acquisition and marketing technology firm Revenue Engineers. Costello tells EIG delegates and SBC readers that innovation should be at the forefront of the industry discussion, as it enters a period of corporate consolidation and deeper focus on omni-channel capabilities.
SBC: Hi Fintan….You will be judging new enterprises targeting the igaming sector at EIG 2015. As a judge of the EIG Launchpad what criteria, services and competencies are you looking for when evaluating effective new enterprises?
Fintan Costello: We at RevenueEngineers.com are focused on “Instant Satisfaction” business models. Consumers have come to expect instant satisfaction in all areas of their lives. Be it the answer to a question, a movie, a book, a curry or even a date all of which are now instantly available at the click of a button.
I will be particularly interested in start-ups that apply an instant satisfaction mind-set to the iGaming sector and I really want to see true innovation and disruption, I will be less interested in incremental iterations of other peoples business models.
My criteria for winning is very simple, data beats opinion. The Launchpad start-up that will get my top vote will be the one that back’s up their pitch with relevant and actionable data.
SBC: Examining igaming’s convoluted value chain, where do you see new enterprises being most effective? Where can innovation and new market entrants really make a significant impact within the sector?
FC: When you look at the iGaming value chain there is massive areas of innovation and disruption already happening, be it game distribution platforms such as Odobo, platform providers such as Bede Gaming, betting innovations like Colossus Bets, operators such as Leo Vegas and Guts, affiliates like AccaTracker or even adapting to different currencies such as BitCasino.io
Innovation and disruption will never end and there are tonnes of opportunities for new and existing companies to have a big impact on the industry.
SBC: 2015 has seen a strong focus on Omni-Channel capabilities by a number of operators. Going forward how do you see Omni-Channel focuses effecting igaming development and innovation processes?
FC: If you look at things form the customers’ perspective, they do not see your business as separate companies such as Online vs Retail or even Desktop vs Tablet vs Mobile. They just see one company and expect to have a seamless experience across every channel and every touch point.
This Omni-Channel approach is something that should have happened years ago, the fact the iGaming industry has been so slow to adapt has created numerous opportunities for innovation and disruption.
For me I see the biggest opportunities for Omni-Channel in the Big Data sphere helping companies make sense and leverage the data that they are now collecting and turning it into an improved customer experience.
SBC: 2015 has also been a year of corporate acquisition and consolidation, in your opinion has the importance of industry innovation been put to the side?
FC: I’d argue that the acquisition and consolidation should put a bigger focus on innovation because for all companies in the iGaming sector their competitors are just a click away.
Smaller operators need to compete and easiest way for them to do so is by innovating for example look at the great things the guys at Gaming Realms are doing.
The bigger operators also need to innovate either in order to drive the promised cost savings of the acquisition/mergers but more importantly to stay relevant to the consumer, for me one of the stand out big operators has been SkyBet who have had a constant pipeline of customer focused innovations over the last number of years.
SBC: Having worked within igaming operations and for Google, can operators learn innovations practices and efficiencies from outside industries?
FC: As a whole the industry does have a tendency to be very inward focused and just copying what the competition does.
The smartest people and companies I’ve dealt with have all as a rule actively looked outside the iGaming industry for stimulus, ideas and new approaches.
The biggest areas the iGaming industry can easily improve on and learn from other industries is personalisation of all areas of the customer journey and adapting their product for the new generation of mobile only 20 year olds.
SBC: Finally what key industry discussions, agenda and debate do you feel should most prominent at EIG 2015?
FC: With so much going on in the industry the key for me is to get a balance of everything that is happening in the industry.
Things I’ve booked for my diary include the talks on eSports, the Justin Franssen led panel discussion on newly regulating markets as he always full of insight. The panel with Ory Weihs from XL Media and Andy Lulham form Oddschecker will be great way to see how Super Affiliate are adapting their business models. I’ve been a big fan of Mind Candy for years so am really looking forward to seeing Darran Garnham speak. If you really want to understand SEO you cannot miss Cindy Krum who is fantastic and of course it should go without saying I’m really looking forward to the Launchpad pitches!
Fintan Costello – Founder & Managing Partner at Revenue Engineers