Wager, the peer-to-peer betting start-up that launched in August, is the latest incumbent attempting to overcome the industry’s ‘social wagering conundrum’.
Introduced in conjunction with the kick off of the 2019/20 Premier League season, Wager has since seen some development in its short lifespan including the introduction of a marketing campaign, specialised markets, head-to-head profiles and referral schemes.
With Wager’s development set to continue in the new year, we sat down with Elliott Robinson, co-founder of the social betting start-up, to discuss Wager’s 2019 progress and its plans for its first full operational calendar year.
SBC: What were your original plans/expectations for 2019 and have you exceeded them?
ER: At the start of 2019, we set out to build and launch Wager for the start of the Premier League season. We hit this first milestone, going live for the season opener (Liverpool v Norwich) on August 9th. The response from customers since then has been incredible and really has exceeded expectations.
In those first 3 months, we had over £25k of bets placed on the platform and have grown revenue 20% week-on-week. Users love the product – the average user bets 4 times a week and this is increasing month-on-month, while D30 retention is 35%!
SBC: You launched at the same time as the Premier League season kicked off and already your brand appears to have grown exponentially. What do you put this growth down to?
ER: We launched Wager as we felt the industry really lacked a truly social brand, and a product that allowed friends to bet against each other in a fair, easy and social way. So we were confident we could really differentiate our brand from incumbent bookmakers, and were focused on building a product users loved and told their friends about.
As a result, the product has grown organically with very little marketing spend – every user we acquire through paid marketing brings 2.7 organic users (their friends) with them!
SBC: You recently unlocked your next batch of funding, what have you been able to do with those extra funds and how has it impacted the brand?
ER: Our 3rd tranche of funding from Forward Partners has allowed us to significantly develop the product and start spending on marketing. New product features we have launched include group leagues, messaging, and improving the in-play experience. Marketing experiments on social media and refer-a-friend schemes have worked really well for us.
We have also grown the team, hiring a permanent CTO as well as a front-end developer, and will continue to do so as we close our next round of funding in February.
SBC: As well as the new batch of funding, Wager recently put out an advert which features both yourself and Leo Barnes. Has the launch of that greatly impacted the number of sign ups you’ve had?
ER: It has certainly helped! We were approached by a young videographer who loved the product and wanted to make an advert for the Wager brand. I’m not sure we’ll be winning any Oscars, but it has had a brilliant response and hopefully speaks to the fun and friendly brand we are looking to build.
SBC: What are your goals for the next calendar year?
ER: Next year, we will scale Wager across the UK, before we attack the exciting US opportunity in 2021.
The funding round we will close in February will allow us grow the team, develop the product, and increase marketing spend to fuel the app’s inherent viral mechanic.
From a product perspective, the goals for next year are two-fold:
- Make Wager truly social: activity feeds, advanced profile pages, gamified experience, group bets & sweepstakes
- Improve the core betting experience: more markets, more sports, improved in-play offering
We have also had interest from incumbent sportsbook brands who are interested in partnering with Wager in some way.
SBC: If you dare to dream, what is your ideal 2020 in terms of the development of Wager?
ER: Our ultimate vision is to make betting social. We want Wager to be part of every sports fan’s enjoyment and experience of professional sport, but also the digital destination for friend-to-friend competition of any form.
We have built a product that acquires and retains users brilliantly, and the latest round of funding will allow us to reach a huge audience in the UK.
SBC: Lastly, seeing as you launched with the Premier League, who do you think will win the league and why? and who in your opinion is the 2019 Premier League team of the year?
ER: It pains me to say it (as a United fan), but I don’t think Liverpool can be caught, having only dropped 2 points all season. But I’ll keep praying for a repeat of Leicester’s 2016 heroics for a few more months.
2019 team of the year might have to go to Sheffield United. I was adamant they’d go straight back down this season, so it’s quite embarrassing that they’re currently in 8th place.