SBC News Novibet new market growth led by Greek Power & Intelligence...

Novibet new market growth led by Greek Power & Intelligence…

Novibet’s tech and product leadership team of Lambros Sialmas (COO) and Sotiris Haritos (CTO) have provided SBC an exclusive insight into the pan-European igaming group’s growth strategy driven by the fundamental pillars of consolidating leadership positions, enhancing product offerings and customer experience and maximising operational efficiencies. 

To Novibet’s advantage, its strategy leverages  its ‘Greek-engineered’ GameTech platform to export domestic success for international expansion with a dynamic focus on markets in LATAM and Southeastern Europe, in which Novibet is committed to offering local audiences a superior end-to-end product experience. 

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SBC: Novibet talks about four strategic pillars for its growth in the future – can you elaborate on what they are and how they develop?

SBC News Novibet new market growth led by Greek Power & Intelligence...
Lambros Sialmas: Novibet

Lambros Sialmas, COO : After a wave of dynamic global expansion over the last year, we have now entered a phase where our priority is to solidify our presence in both emerging and established markets where we operate. With this in mind, our strategy over the next year will be based on consolidating our growth, significantly upgrading our product and the overall customer experience, streamlining our operations, and investing even more in attracting and maintaining top talent. In terms of growth, we aim to accelerate our performance and achieve financial efficiency across all markets of operation. 

As far as our product is concerned, we want to increase the width and depth of our offering by adding more variety in both sportsbook and casino options, while incorporating new innovative features. Overall operational excellence will also be a top priority, and for this reason, we are now reviewing all functions and processes while setting KPIs to measure performance more efficiently across all departments. Finally, as our success comes from our people, we are focused on recruiting the best of the best and shaping a work environment where everyone can freely create and evolve.

SBC What are the challenges in keeping your own tech stack up to date? How much of an advantage does this bring you in the current marketplace?

Sotiris Haritos, CTO: Half-jokingly and half-seriously, whenever I am asked about it, I tend to say that keeping up with tech development while working in a very competitive landscape is pretty much like changing the bicycle chain while pedaling vigorously.

You cannot ignore technical debt because sooner or later it will come back to bite you. Still, on the other hand, you can’t freeze product development until you are technically ready, since the world will keep revolving even without you. This is the challenge and, at the same time, the excitement, as we are constantly striving to strike a balance and make the right engineering decisions.

Without blowing our own horn too much, I would say that we are doing it quite successfully, having completed a ton of product development across all our domains while continually modernizing our platform.

Having the luxury of our own in-house built platform and a fully-fledged software development department has given us an edge against major competitors in the market who tend to work with a more traditional vendor-based approach. By bringing technology closer to business, we managed to implement a company-wide agile methodology, react quickly to emerging business needs, and ultimately deliver value to our users.

SBC Novibet had traditionally been focused on the Greek market, where you are one of the main players. How have you managed to tweak that focus to take advantage of international opportunities?

LS: It is true that Greece remains our primary core market as domestically we have achieved a growth rate exceeding twice the industry’s overall growth rate. The Greek GameTech market is both mature and healthy, so it comes as no surprise that GameTech companies are becoming the new tech giants in the country, while at the same time ‘exporting’ tech excellence across borders. At Novibet, we have used this momentum to accelerate our international expansion and go from the local scale to the global one both effectively and efficiently.

First of all, our domestic profits have organically funded our launch in new countries, without the need for external financing. Secondly, our experienced senior management team has been enhanced with the addition of new C-level executives with a diverse background, effectively blending existing industry perspectives with new fresh minds. We have a clear vision that cascades across all levels of operation, creating an ecosystem of ownership and accountability toward a common goal. Last but not least, we have fostered a culture of technical agility and operational excellence that has enabled us to scale in a fast but at the same time healthy way.

SBC: With that in mind, which regions fall on the Novibet radar for future expansion? And why?

LS: We constantly keep several markets under our radar, probing on the base of overall maturity and potential and having an agile strategy mindset on the event of a potential new launch, either organically or through a joint venture or acquisition, if any such opportunity arises. We surely seek to further strengthen our presence in LATAM and the Southeastern Europe (SEE), currently exploring opportunities, however as mentioned earlier our main priorities for 2024 will be on commercializing existing markets and focusing on product superiority. 

SBC: You are primarily interested in the regulated and regulating markets – what makes regulated markets like the UK, Ontario, and US states less appealing?

LS: There is, of course, a multitude of factors that are taken into account when assessing a market’s potential over the business development decision-making process, namely its overall value, the total investment needed for a potential launch, the market’s regulatory and technical complexity and the ability to successfully compete, especially in those cases were significant entry barriers are present.

Solving this complex and dynamic equation for each potential new market, and constantly reviewing the results over time is what has led us to decide to e.g. disinvest from the UK but remain -and thrive, might I add- in Ireland, set North America as a target but not still as a priority and invest more in further strengthening our presence in the dynamic markets of LATAM and Southeastern Europe regions.

SBC News Novibet new market growth led by Greek Power & Intelligence...
Sotiris Haritos: Novibet

SBC: How important is it for employees to have clear targets and KPIs?

LS: As we operate in a competition intensive industry, excellence needs to be exhibited in all verticals: operational, technical, product, marketing, financial. However, you cannot in any way hope to maintain a high level of excellence at a constant rate if you cannot quantify performance.

For this reason, the priorities contained in our 4 strategic pillars have been translated into a framework of SMART objectives and KPIs connected with the specific functions of each department, focusing on customers, employees, and partners, as well as the communities in which they operate. In this way, we have managed to create an easy prioritization framework within the company, so that everyone understands what is important and what is not within a fast-paced environment.

SH: When it comes to the Technology department, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are always a contentious subject. There is a valid argument that objectively measuring the creativity and efficiency resulting from the thousands of daily decisions made in a technical department is not always feasible. As Lambros mentioned, we have structured our KPIs to align with the vision and strategy of the organization with Technology and we will continue to refine them as needed.

Overall though, we have managed to establish a solid set of KPIs, avoiding significant conflicts across different teams and setting clear targets for all involved parties. These KPIs precisely highlight the level of effort the team is investing in and the results it is achieving.

SBC: You speak of more than doubling your active user base. What was key to achieving this? What key strategies were out in place to reach those numbers?  

LS: We have managed to achieve this outstanding result both by acquiring a bigger market share domestically and through our accelerated organic international expansion. Our technical agility has been a key factor for fast access to new markets, and also efficient scalability across both new and mature ones. On the other hand, our 360, ROI-optimized marketing strategies have effectively generated customer acquisition and loyalty across all markets of operation.

It is worth mentioning that over the past years we have maintained a constant focus on improving customer experience, allocating more than 50% of our tech capacity to product improvements. At the heart of all our efforts, though, lie our people. It is their dedication and hard work that drive our collective success. And it is the company’s strategic priority to support them in reaching their fullest potential within the organization. This is evident in Novibet’s consecutive certifications as a Great Place to Work; an ‘honor’ attributed directly by our people, through transparent processes, since 2021. 

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