An SBC exclusive interview, Ebbe Groes CEO of industry platform and software provider EveryMatrix speaks on his firm recent strategic investment, combined with a new board of governance.
Following the firm’s most successful year in business, Groes the leader of EveryMatrix since 2008 details his firm’s future ambitions and product strategy, stating that he aims to take EveryMatrix to the ‘Next Level’…
SBC: Hi Ebbe, last month you announced a set of new members to the EveryMatrix board. Who are these new faces and what do they bring to your business?
Ebbe Groes: We have indeed completed a strategic investment round widening our shareholder base. This is the first ever external investment in EveryMatrix, and we are certain that a higher diversity of skills and a broader ownership at the board level will support our company’s growth and long-term strategy.
Norbert Teufelberger, the new non-executive Chairman of the Board of EveryMatrix, has been involved in the global casino and gaming industry for many years, co-founding and long-term CEO of bwin and presently board member of GVC among others. The new Board also includes Anders Böös, former Chairman of IFS, Jan Gottlander, co-founder of Snow Software, and an experienced stock market analyst, Marius Therkelsen of Strawberry Capital. The new members will surely bring better insights and a great deal of experience adding critical skills in preparation for the next expansion phase of our company.
SBC: Coincidently, these new board members are joining a very different EveryMatrix. Since its original concept and start-up how has EveryMatrix evolved as an industry enterprise?
EG: EveryMatrix has grown over the years in an organic way avoiding large mergers and acquisitions. Thanks to this growth philosophy, our company developed naturally adding staff members who really understand our company’s long-term goals.
As years went by and our numbers grew, we started to see management getting stretched, harming agility and growth. To address that, we reorganized in 2016, creating increasingly independent business divisions, each of them under a different management team, each with both product development, operations, support, and gradually even commercial responsibility for their own product. By taking this path, we wanted to make sure each business unit can focus on the product they support and can take the best commercial and technical decisions.
The split coincides with EveryMatrix refactoring its entire platform and in doing so, spinning out our sports, casino, payments, affiliate applications as stand-alone products, independent of our own gaming platform. Each product is now sold and delivered both stand-alone and as part of the one-stop solution, depending on clients’ needs. This fits better with large clients who have more specialised needs. And by doing this, we allow each of the applications to compete head on with specialised companies in their space. This raises the bar and improves the product development significantly.
So far, this reorganisation is working well for us both regarding productivity and market repositioning. We’ve been proud to be a white label provider of choice, but we see our future differently, with an array of products, each a top solution in their space.
SBC: Assessing the industry’s current context and with your new governance appointments, what represents ‘the next level’ for EveryMatrix and its operations?
EG: The new EveryMatrix members joining our board bring along not only financial resources but also a wealth of experience in the iGaming and B2B space. Their arrival is therefore a major factor in our move towards being a provider of choice for the largest companies within our sector.
On the organisational side, it’s a quite different skillset that’s needed to market, sell and manage the relationship with the very large companies. We’re investing in improving those skills, and the new board plays an active role in that process.
On the product side, we’ve invested heavily into new technology and this year sees the conclusion of a massive refactoring project.
The first and clearest results come from our heralded CasinoEngine product, the largest content aggregator in the world. CasinoEngine brings along a wealth of content from multiple casino vendors delivering top quality games, which permits operators to choose the best for their online casinos. It can be directly integrated into client platforms and includes a 2nd generation bonusing tool with unprecedented flexibility.
By offering such a rich platform, we could target a larger base of Tier 1 operators. In the last six months alone, EveryMatrix managed to secure long established companies such as Gamescale, CEGO, Norsk Tipping, 188Bet, and K8.
SBC: EveryMatrix has finalised a successful 2016 in which it added 26 new customers. How has this external growth tested your firm’s operations and development?
EG: First, we were glad to receive in our EveryMatrix family more experienced operators, and I am glad to notice we managed to continue this trend in 2017.
For sure it’s also been a challenge to service well this growing and diverse set of clients. It forced us to raise the bar and seek ways to bring more quality into our work, from our products and services to our customer care approach. This external growth showed us that we need to better adapt to local conditions in the jurisdictions we are present, to better communicate with our clients, understand their struggle and objectives, and provide a faster delivery. This ultimately must change the way we think and act, from development to integration, and from account management to support.
SBC: You have further completed an external funding round for your firm’s future development. In your opinion, what makes EveryMatrix an attractive proposition to outside investors?
EG: What differentiates the EveryMatrix platform from many of its competitors is that it has been created to be fully tailored depending on each client’s requirements and needs. We are a true B2B company, not a B2C provider offering variations of their in-house product.
The funding round coincided, intentionally, with us completing our massive refactoring project. When you have a proven business model, and you’re moving to a substantially better platform, then the case for scaling both transactions and revenues is a strong one – and that attracts interest from investors.
At the heart of the company is a desire to invest into software, a preference for innovation and long-term growth rather than short-term profits. That’s why we were early in the market with a fully-managed sportsbook and early with true casino aggregation. A proven track record which we could substantiate with investors that are connected to the industry.
SBC: Moving forward, what are the short and long term goals for EveryMatrix in 2017?
EG: Our short-term goal for 2017 is to fully migrate all our clients to the new casino product, the new sports product, the new payments product, the new front-end and CMS systems. It’s one of the hard parts about being a large company, one gets dragged down a bit by existing installs, existing client base, and migration takes months, not weeks. But doing so will improve our clients’ lives and save resources previously spent on maintaining old applications while building new ones.
From there on we can fully focus on adding clients, volumes, revenues. I’ve already touched upon how the new products are built for selling as stand-alone, integrated with existing applications of our clients. For geography, our focus will be Europe and Asia, further increasing our investments into regulated markets, further helping facilitate the growth of our clients.
And in the long-term, we are determined to remain agile, understand what it takes to reinvent our products and stay ahead of the competition.
Ebbe Groes – CEO – EveryMatrix