Innovation in iGaming is one of my favorite subjects and so much of the innovation today is happening in the sports betting arena. With so many young entrepreneurs constantly hitting the sports betting scene its difficult to stand out as one of the “rising stars”, but we all know the more competitive an environment is, the more innovation and quality we tend to see.
Oddsium is a brand new sports betting app with intention of making sports betting simple, fast and fun for punters. For four years the team behind Oddsium have been perfecting the app and are proud to share the main innovation behind the product, providing one login and immediate access for all connected bookmakers. I spoke with Oddsium’s MD, Krister Malm, to get the story behind their product, an idea of exactly how Oddsium plans to revolutionize the sports betting landscape, their challenges with the App Store and how they plan to get the word out to customers.
Becky Liggero: Thank you for joining me today, Krister. Lets start with the story behind Oddsium, how did the idea come about? Who is behind it?
Krister Malm: The idea came to me after having joined the online gaming industry after a successful career in the computer games sector. Once in this industry, I soon noticed its lack of invention (not to mention ancient looking interfaces!) and a generally high level of resistance to try new approaches and new business models (especially ones from other industries). This, was especially evident in the mobile segment which I realised would grow rapidly once Apple and Google had opened their app stores.
Hence, I started looking at the efficiency of acquisition amongst the different channels used, and soon noticed that – especially when it comes to sportsbook customers – the odds comparison products were by far superior. Both in terms of getting reasonably good acquisition numbers, as well as in the quality and value of the generated leads. Retention-wise, I soon realised that as effectively all operators are offering a similar product (apart from odds variations) the user mostly prefers to remain in an environment that he or she is comfortable in.
So, I started the company back in 2012 together with a group of individuals, all with key skills and professional networks.
BL: Now its fours years later and you’ve made so much progress. How is Oddsium going to revolutionize the sports betting industry?
KM: We will revolutionise it in a number of ways.
First of all, the threshold of registering with any given bookmaker is gone. Once registered with Oddsium, the user only has to tap on the odds of the bookmaker to sign up. Registration is then sorted in seconds. No more form filling!
Second – speed. There is no faster method available to place a bet with any bookmaker than through Oddsium. We can achieve this through a number of things, such as automatically logging in the user on startup, allowing the user to search and store Favourites, but first and foremost through our high level of technical expertise and total integration into the operators. The user never has to leave the Oddsium environment. All bets are placed in the Oddsium app, via an identical interface for all bookmakers!
Third – precise marketing. We offer the operators the possibility to log in to our systems and directly market themselves to very specific segments of Oddsium users. It is possible to filter on (amongst other things) age, location, favourite teams or leagues, and much more. Direct push messaging with unique offers straight to and tailored for the right user!
Fourth – transparency. With bets placed via Oddsium the user gets full insight into its betting history across bookmakers, as well as a clear overview of profit and loss on a bet per bet, match, as well as total basis.
Fifth – direct deposits. Oddsium keeps everything within easy reach for the user. Deposits with each bookmaker is easily managed within the app. Oddsium also conveniently alerts you when your respective bookmaker wallet may need some topping up.
Of course all of the above is only the start of things for Oddsium – we have a lot of very, very exciting things on our roadmap. Enough to keep us (and everyone eventually trying to catch up) busy for years to come.
BL: Very nice, we’re all looking forward to watching your progress. Oddsium is now live in the Apple Store and you have an interesting story behind this achievement, can you share it with us?
KM: This was a bit of an issue for quite some time. We sent the first (alpha) version to Apple for approval back in early 2013, and we were immediately rejected – with them asking for our gambling license. As we replied, explaining we were not a betting operator, things went rather quiet. We wrote them again and again and even tried calling the few numbers we could find in order to get hold of someone that could explain what the holdup was. The only feedback we kept getting upon every attempt was a request for a scan of our gambling license.
As a startup, this is not really what one wants of course, but we started looking at different platforms and technical solutions in the meantime – when, out of the blue, on my way home from a meeting in late August / early September of 2013 – I receive a call from an unknown number in the US. The person on the other end of the line introduced herself as the Head of iOS developer relations, based in Cupertino. At first I almost thought it was a prank call, but she assured me she was for real. She then continued our conversation by first apologising on behalf of Apple, for their lack of feedback for such a long time, but also explained that they had put a team of lawyers looking into our business model (largely affiliate based) and that she wanted to personally congratulate us for having managed to get Apple to eventually change their app approval guidelines to now include affiliate based products!
So, I guess one could say that the way to overcome some of these issues faced, is to…well, be patient. And have patient co-workers and investors.
BL: I love that story, very cool. You’ve also got an exciting 1 million Euro Marketing Campaign, “The Introduction”, in the works – what can we expect from this campaign? How is it unique?
KM :This is our launch campaign in Sweden. It essentially introduces the Oddsium product to the mass market, via TV, print, online and mobile. It is unique in the sense that it doesn’t shout out bonus levels, or uses any other typical loud gambling company jargon – and of course the fact that it displays the total integration with various betting operators. One could say that we take a somewhat more laid back, intelligent and stylish approach compared to the typical glaringly colourful and shouting bookmaker adverts. Someone actually said our TV commercial felt like a fresh apple in a cart of sour grapes.
BL: Sounds great, keep us posted on how things go. Before signing off, can you leave us with your best tip for entrepreneurs wishing to enter the online gambling industry?
KM: My best tip would be to have a really well thought through business model and to present it in an as short and clear way as possible. Oh, and be persistent and patient.
BL: Wonderful Krister, thank you for your time today and keep up the good work.