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New online gambling incubator hopes to encourage start-up collaboration

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mLabs seeks to showcase new start-ups and entrepreneurs

New online gambling incubator hopes to encourage start-up collaborationCork, 24 August, 2015: Betting exchange Matchbook has launched a new collaborative incubator called mLabs which its hopes will foster the next generation of innovative start-ups in the online gambling sector.

The new accelerator programme has been launched with the aim of attracting new talent that Matchbook will handpick and mentor in the hope that it can develop and nurture ideas through to product launch.

David Mills, head of research for Matchbook and in charge of the mLabs project, said the hope was that through collaboration mLabs.io will help jump start new ventures and guide entrepreneurs through the process of getting a business up-and-running in the gambling sector.

“mLabs is a community where like-minded people can share their ideas, help each other, improve, grow, collaborate and see their ideas evolve together,” said Mills. “We see incubation as a two-way process.”

More than just an ‘About us’ page

Matchbook and mLabs believe that the success of any new business will depend on the skills, vision and belief of the management team. mLabs is about taking a company beyond an ‘about us’ page on a website and truly showcasing the people behind the venture.

“Companies are made of people,” said Mills. “People have stories to tell, and we want entrepreneurs to share their stories at mLabs.”

Matchbook and mLabs are taking their cue from social media and plan to use the power of networking to perform the role of new business matchmaker between the gaming industry and the wider tech world.

“Everyone uses social networks,” says Mills. “Our era is defined by them. But when it comes to relevant networking in order to collaborate it is extremely difficult to find like-minded people. We feel we can be the facilitator; we take funding and money off the table and focus on what really matters: innovation and new ideas.”

The mLabs.io project places particular emphasis on getting advice. “Successful and innovative businesses tend to make wholesale changes to their ideas before hitting on a successful formula,” said Mills. “Talking to others who have been through a similar process is always beneficial.”

Helping to overcome the challenges

Matchbook hopes that by highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of product offerings, it can provide insight about getting to market and the challenges faced. One of these is the need to ensure any new product is compliant with the relevant regulations. Mills notes that in other tech sectors, it is easier to release a beta product, test it, and see how it develops, whereas with gambling there is more process involved.

“We think we can advise in this area,” says Mills. “We can make an often painful process slightly less time-consuming, and hopefully help companies avoid the bigger regulatory pitfalls.”

Matchbook is seeking out new start-ups and entrepreneurs to join the mLabs project. The mLabs website will become the premier forum for companies and individuals to express ideas and receive feedback. It will actively encourage option and participation.

Already working with mLabs is DiscountIF, a social e-commerce platform rewarding customers with cashback on events they follow. It was founded and launched by ex-Betfair leaders, and aims to leverage their experience from the gambling space into the e-commerce industry.

Chief executive Lewis Holland said about mLabs that what he likes is that it iss about sharing both challenges and success. “We see mLabs as an online start-up incubator without any strict commitments by either party.”

Mills added that the link-up with DiscountIF is an example of how the collaborative magic could happen for others. “The teaming up of Matchbook and DiscountIF, via mLabs, shows how our experiment might bear fruit quite quickly.”

Entrepreneurs and start-ups that are interested in talking to mLabs should in the first instance contact David Mills.


About Matchbook and mLabs

Matchbook is an innovator in the online gambling space having launched its own betting exchange and was one of the earliest adopters of both online and mobile technology. mLabs is designed to attract tech talent to sector, and encourage innovation, inspiration and community. mLabs believes it is tapping into a new audience.

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