Ory Weihs, the CEO of XLMedia, is one of my oldest friends in iGaming and also one of the most successful affiliates in our industry. Since 2003, Weihs’ business has grown from a robust network of affiliate sites to a full service digital advertising company, one of the first of its kind to go public.
Spending time with Weihs is always inspiring as his drive to constantly grow and develop his business is contagious and it’s apparent going public was the right decision for him. When you’re as driven as Weihs, there is nothing better than taking on a good challenge like he has done- here is his story on going public and how things are looking for XLMedia one year later.
Let’s begin by talking about this big move you made, by going public – why did you actually decide to make that huge jump – it’s a huge accomplishment.
We’ve been running for quite a long time. I’ve been doing this since 2003 in some way or the other and we’ve been growing pretty constantly since 2004 or 5. The business reached a point where it was working with many countries and many verticals, using a lot of technology. We felt there was an opportunity if went out and raised some more money, we can really expedite the process and do multi-vertical, multi-countries and invest more in technology.
We felt the UK market was a good place for us to do this- there’s a lot of history here for online gaming of various sorts. We did feel our proposition was a good one and the fact that it was a successful IPO was proof of that.
Excellent. Well I know there are a lot of companies that debate whether it’s the right move for them or not, but some of the reasons why people don’t do it is because they think going public limits their ability to innovate or their freedom to do what they want to do. So how has going public impacted your ability to do those things?
To be honest, it’s definitely a complicated task. There’s no doubt, it’s not easy, but there are quite a lot of benefits.
Of course the disadvantage is that you have to work much more organized which, I say disadvantage, I actually don’t think it is. You have to work more organized and invest more into things like finance and compliance and advisors, you start ramping up bills that you didn’t have to pay for before, but on the other hand you gain an organized company and with correct financial planning and forecasting and compliance which is a good thing.
Let’s say up until 2012 we were really working as a small-ish private company and we were not that much future-focused. We didn’t think five year, ten year. Now we have to think five year, ten year.
But the move for us was a very positive one – we’ve done a lot since we’ve listed – we’ve acquired three businesses, we’ve expanded into another vertical such as social gaming which we haven’t done before and there are things that would be harder if we didn’t go public.
It’s truly amazing how much has changed, I knew you from your Reef Media days when you were a super affiliate- you still are- and all the things you’re doing now, it’s just incredible how much you’ve developed professionally and with your company. So what can we expect to see from XLMedia over the next one to five years?
What can you expect from us? Well there are a lot of things you can expect. Generally the mantra for the business- and this has been our vision for the last ten years and now in part because of the listing I think we can actually reach it- in five years we want to be an organization that has both many clients in different verticals and many countries, countries that we haven’t reached yet, and we want to do it as technologically focused as possible. With data forecasting tools, real time bidding, programmatic, these kind of things. We already have this today but it’s a constant process to keep improving and personally it’s more fun like this because it’s more challenging.
We did the old school websites, SEO, that kind of thing- that was 2003, 4, 5 and you’ve got to move on and this is something I want to focus on.
Well Ory you have some exciting plans there, I wish you the best of luck with all of it and I look forward to watching your progress. Thank you so much for joining me today.