Jacob Kalms – 20Shots: Making fantasy betting a reality

Jacob Kalms, 20Shots
Jacob Kalms – 20Shots

As the race to offer ever more varied and engaging markets to punters continues, a start-up B2B supplier has made the familiar experience of fantasy football games the central theme of its fixed-odds betting product.  

20Shots has developed software that allows operators to offer a range of fixed-odds fantasy football markets, with fans able to bet on the performance of their favourite players or combined points scoring of their chosen line-up each game week. 

Ahead of 20Shots’ participation in the virtual exhibition at the SBC Digital Summit from 27 April to 1 May, SBC caught up with Co-Founder Jacob Kalms to find out more about how the product works and how it could help operators to reach a new market.  

SBC: Fixed-odds betting on fantasy football is a new concept. What does it offer punters that established sports markets don’t?

Jacob Kalms: Fantasy football is rapidly growing and there are over 7.5 million users playing UK fantasy football games. The crossover with sports betting is huge – 45% of a UK sportsbook operator’s customers also play fantasy football.

We give customers the same experience that they are used to on their fantasy sports sites, with the added instant gratification of fixed-odds betting.

Our markets depend on so many variables – goals, assists, minutes played, goals conceded. And it’s not just single player bets, as we allow users to create personalised teams, made up of players from all major leagues around the world, and bet on various derivatives of that team. 

We believe it’s by far the most personalised betting experience available.

SBC: Major operators have a huge range of football markets already, but often their offers look very similar to the competition. How can 20Shots’ product help them to differentiate their offer and stand out from the crowd?

JK: This will be one of the biggest changes to a sportsbook offering in years. We’re not just another row in your match markets – we’re a game, and it’s a game that sports bettors already know how to play. We’re just giving them the chance to bet on it.

It’s a true innovation, as no-one has been able to deliver the range of markets we have before now. So it allows operators to offer their customers something new and on trend.

But it’s more than just something different to offer. The popularity of fantasy football games with fans, and in particular punters, makes our game a great acquisition and retention tool for sportsbooks. Bettors can focus on the team they support, put together dream line-ups or back their favourite players to perform, all of which are options that football fans will instantly relate to and enjoy. 

SBC: Can you explain for our readers how the product integrates with operators’ sportsbooks?   

JK: We have developed the 20Shots product to slot seamlessly into operators’ sites, while also delivering a great user experience for punters. There’s a lot more to it than a slick customer interface though, as we can provide a full package complete with risk management system, analytics, reporting, bet ticker, user permissions and trader inputting. 

We are able to integrate in all the ways that are standard for the operators today, typically wallet anonymous integration or API only, but we also support iframe and JS widget integration.

SBC: What are the longer term plans for 20Shots? A greater range of sports? Overseas expansion?

JK: We have a brilliant development team and have several plans in the works, some of which have been advanced due to COVID-19.  

We will be launching a B2C Free-To-Play game with weekly cash prizes for the upcoming football season – whenever that may be. We are also continuing our development of new fixed odds fantasy sports markets with cricket and horse racing, and we will be attaining gambling licences in other jurisdictions. 

SBC: 20Shots is exhibiting at the SBC Digital Summit. The key topic on the agenda for the conference element of the event is how businesses can survive and bounce back from the slowdown caused by COVID-19. What has your experience of the disruption been? 

JK: As a pre-revenue start-up planning to launch it has been more frustrating than a fight for survival. Our commercial plans and roadmap took a hit with the suspension of the league and our clients’ uncertainty with the current climate. 

This is most likely going to delay our roadmap by three or four months and that is obviously not easy to deal with. However, we are well funded, we have a devoted team and we are using this delay to improve our product and build out different parts of our business. 

I believe operators that have larger teams and are dependent on revenue will most likely be struggling more than us at this current time and I hope they can all get through this period unscathed. 

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