Global expansion into new and emerging markets is a major ambition of most betting and gaming operators, and various companies each have their own approach on how to achieve this.
Speaking at Parimatch’s PM GO: Go Global business conference, a variety of industry leaders discussed developments in the sector, highlighting different perspectives on the best way to achieve international growth.
Igor Zhadanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Readdle, a company described as having a black belt in opening and closing offices in the US,’ discussed the significance factoring cultural differences in a global commercial strategy, whilst also highlighting the benefits of diversity.
All of the products that we work with, when we have this situation between people of different backgrounds – of language and culture – it’s always very interesting,” he remarked.
“I treat this as an advantage. The difference in backgrounds and diversity of people who build a good product – they are a key driver of success. So for us, we always saw this as an advantage, although it’s never an easy pass.
“We introduced some diversity by hiring people who are different to the status quo on the team, and that’s difficult but that’s also very interesting, and that always bears results.”
When asked about the motivating factors behind Readdle’s international strategy, Zhadanov highlighted a need for his company to work closer towards its key markets and partners.
He added: “In 2011, we realised that if we wanted to grow globally we needed to be closer to our key markets, to our users and our partners, and at that moment we saw that Silicon Valley in the US were the key targets for us, and starting form 2011 we spent a lot of money on business flights for our key team members.”
Taking a slightly different perspective was Dmytro Voloshyn, Co-Founder and CTO of Preply, who identified global expansion as important for bolstering a brand’s recruitment and marketing capabilities, in order to better promote its financial growth.
“I think in our case, this was a founding ambition,” he began. “We started in the local market, it’s quite small and we realised we were unable to implement our ambitions. In Moldova, Belarus etc, the markets are too small to build a billion dollar company. You have to have ambitions and you have to have skills and competencies in terms of going into a global market.
“One of our competencies was marketing. We could do competent marketing in international markets, and this is a competency that was hard to come across in the local market. If you look for marketing officers who can handle £1 million, £10 million budgets, in Ukraine it will be difficult to find this officer.
“In Germany and the US, these specialists are readily available. You need to open offices worldwide – for example, we opened an office in Barcelona. You have to be ready to scale these competencies and source them from other counties, if the co-founders are lacking these competencies. You have to be very modest in evaluating your own capabilities.
Additionally, the importance of a homogenous company culture was outlined by Zhadanov, who stated: “I think the values and principles have to be homogenous. The culture is a tool that ensures that the decisions made in the company – regardless of who is making these decisions – are reproducible no matter where they are made.
“Culture is a good tool for scaling your business, especially when entering new markets or new areas of business where you’re not sure how to do them best.”
Lastly, Voloshyn also made a comment on emerging patterns and trends in the international gaming industry, particularly with regards to an increased focus on entertainment.
The CTO said: “What we can see after 2020 and 2021, the lockdown years, the trend is coming to gamification. We are short of time, we want to see more entertaining content.”