Nico Jansen is founder and CEO of Bet IT Best, the innovative sports portal that allows its members to bet with several bookmakers from one central hub with one single wallet. He reveals some of the drivers behind the business.
SBC: Hi Nico, can you detail Bet IT Best’s product journey, from its conception stage, to its research, its initial launch and its ongoing development?
NJ: It was 2004 when I first came up with the idea for Bet IT Best; that was when I first realised that different bookmakers offered different odds on the same events. But rather than just be a simple odds comparison site, where the user is using the site fleetingly to see who is offering the best odds, I believed there was scope to offer an additional layer of service.
What I wanted to offer was the ability for a customer to simply access the best odds on the market but from a single login portal with one wallet. So our users sign up on our webpage, run the officially granted KYC processes, put money in their accounts, and bet across a whole portfolio of bookmakers all from our website. This means that Bet IT Best users get what we call: “One account to cover them all!”
What we found at the time was that covering nearly the whole value chain of a bookie (besides the odds-making and risk management of course) is quite expensive. So the idea was put ‘on hold’ until we found a seven-digit investment. We now have that and are pressing forward.
SBC: Why does Bet IT Best work?
NJ: It’s all about creating added value for all our stakeholders.
First off, in order to convince the bookies to be part of our system, we needed to provide a product that created added value for them. ‘Offering users’ is the currency that makes the betting market tick, so it was our plan to create something that would engage a sports betting audience, and be useful for our affiliate partners.
To that end, we created a sports news aggregating service, which covers 2,500 sources and delivers 4,500 – 7,500 pieces of news a day. We have added a live scores-service to our portfolio as well. Our range of data means we now deliver our services to at least 200,000 unique Germany-based visitors every month. Armed with those figures, bookies then started to listen to us.
As of now we already convinced 17 of the 25 highest revenue generating bookies in Europe to become our partners, and we will connect them to our services within the year. At the moment we are connecting four bookmakers to our system and we will start our services in Q2.
SBC: And you’ve also worked on adding value for the end user?
NJ: We have always been customer-focused. If your offered products do not add value to your users, your service won’t be used. It’s as simple as that. This is where we think we have a competitive spirit. We have gone one step further than the typical news service by providing our B2C-customers with our “One Account to cover them all”.
So now, rather than having to visit three separate service providers to read news on sport, find out the latest scores and place a bet, Bet IT Best offers all that from the same portal, with the added advantage that the betting brokerage means that users will also get the best odds.
Offering this added value to the B2C-world increases revenues for B2B partners, so in the end we are offering a highly sophisticated portfolio to both parties!
SBC: Is an ‘All-in-One’ app solution for sports betting, necessarily favoured by bookmakers? What are the clear-cut benefits for partners?
NJ: In my experience, bookmakers do not decide on a fancy app or a smooth and easy integration. We are speaking about a highly professionalised industry where decisions are made based on numbers.
In essence, bookies are interested in adding revenues to their books and if you are able to add revenue to the bookie’s books, they are interested in co-operating with you. Technically it is not that hard to effectively integrate your system to the bookies’ system using their APIs. The challenge is to get them onside by offering the right services with the right metrics. If your offered services do not add additional revenue to anyone’s books, your idea will face a lot of trouble getting off the ground.
One of our advantages is that we are covering almost the whole service chain of a bookie, which means that they don’t have to cover that expense. And it is expensive. We start by identifying customers with an officially accepted KYC-service, covering cashing-in / cashing-out & clearing and settlement services, as well as offering mobile, tablet and desktop channels for users to participate in gambling.
But we are also adding a clear benefit to people interested in sports with a one-stop shop for news, results and a betting brokerage. We are directly aiming for the casual punter, who in time may even become a higher volume punter via our portal. From a bookie’s perspective, we are offering another distribution channel to attract new customers without any media breaks.
In fact one of our B2B partners, who happens to be CEO of one of the biggest bookies in the market, recently told me:
“As a punter, I would love sign up for your services, as you cover everything I am interested in and looking for! At the same time, as a bookmaker I am interested in exactly those customers signed up for your services, especially as you are fully covering the whole service chain for a customer. That’s why we signed up for a B2B partnership with your company, Nico!”
SBC: How will future mobile impacts and changing sports viewer habits change the development of your product?
NJ: Mobile impacts and future behaviour developments will always change products and how products will be used, or at least they should. Those that do not adapt to future developments will have to shut down their businesses. The process of ‘creative destruction’ will always shut down existing markets, shift markets to other markets or open up fully new markets.
The gambling industry as it stands has two real drivers for change – technology and regulation. Within tech, things will change in a way that users will fully participate and experience and be part of live matches e.g. fully integrated augmented and virtual reality.
New laws are also disruptive. As soon as a government decides to add additional taxes, each and every market participant must change in order to be still a member of our great industry.
Without a crystal ball I don’t know how Bet IT Best will look in 2-4 years, we have already lined up quite interesting and user focussed projects and our user’s experience will increase. So we will change and so will our services!
Always keep in mind – If you do not adapt to upcoming user needs or any other game changers, your company will need to shut down. It’s easy Darwinism!
SBC: Finally, how do you see Bet IT Best growing as a business for the remainder of 2016?
NJ: The focus this year is to connect our services to even more bookies after the first four go live next month. We have also got some interesting partnerships in the pipeline with companies not yet involved within the gaming industry, but are offering services that could make a huge impact in it. So we are looking to a thrilling and interesting year within our dynamic industry!
Nico Jansen Founder & CEO Bet IT Best