It gives me such pleasure to observe a genuine, hard working person grow a business from scratch and expand in such a way that can only blossom from complete dedication, building relationships and having an amazing team. Eman Pulis of SiGMA is the perfect example of this type of person.
Pulis stepped onto the gaming industry conference scene in 2014 with the first edition of SiGMA that was, at the time, primarily a Malta-focused event. Fast forward to today and SiGMA has gone global, earning its right as a “must-attend event” on the calendars of iGaming professionals across the globe.
“For 2019 we’re looking at a world class show, with so many delegates coming from Latin America, from North America, Asia, from Sub-Saharan Africa as well, so we’re very proud to have SiGMA as a flagship event of all the rest of the portfolio”, Pulis shared.
“Last year the government of Malta was more chivalrous in embracing blockchain technology, so we decided to compliment the government’s efforts in launching the Malta AI and Blockchain Summit”, Pulis explained.
“The DNA of the way the AI and Blockchain event works is a bit different from the way an iGaming show works. Obviously because the industry is in its infancy, a bit of the Wild West and it reminds me a lot of what the ‘hay days’ in the iGaming industry used to be like”, he said.
“Gaming today is a mature industry, you have key, solid, mature players and you know what to expect from that industry. But Blockchain is still new, so we had it last year and we’re replicating that formula again this year by doing a show in Malta and we have a vision to expand even outside of Malta”, he added.
And it doesn’t even stop there. Pulis and team recently announced the addition of “Cannabiz Summit World” to their SiGMA portfolio, an event dedicated to nurturing the medical marijuana industry.
“I strongly believe its going to be another slam-dunk and there’s a number of reasons for that. First it seems to be acknowledged across governments worldwide that the implications of medical use of cannabis can reap positive results. Research out there is all inclined in favor towards embracing the medical application of cannabis. So our first show in this field is all about medical cannabis”, Pulis revealed.
“Its important to distinguish between medical and recreational use and this show is there to highlight the medical aspect. We’re there to attract investors, pharmaceutical companies, production labs, policy-makers, government entities, we’re anticipating a solid turnout of around 3,000 people on this November”, he said.
In addition to respecting Pulis’s work to the fullest, its almost as if the stars are aligned as iGaming, blockchain and the cannabis industry are three areas our Founder, Calvin Ayre, has great interest in. Not to mention there is certainly a crossover within these industries, especially from a blockchain technology perspective.
While just about everyone in the gaming industry is aware of SiGMA and its success, what a lot of people do not know is how in the world Pulis got involved with gaming conferences and was able to succeed in such a competitive market.
“I think its pertinent to note I’m an events guy. Running events is in my DNA and that’s what I have always done all my life”, Pulis shared.
When Pulis was in high school in Malta he used to organize big parties and concerts, but over time, he realized the biggest spenders at his events all came from the thriving iGaming industry on the island.
“I said, ‘you know what, I’m tired of doing parties, why instead don’t I do something that caters for the gaming industry?’ And that’s plainly how SiGMA took off”, Pulis explained.
“I remember everyone telling me, ‘Oh its not going to work, Malta is not mainland Europe, people are not going to fly there to attend a show and there’s already another show happening and its saturated and there’s already too many events’, I used to hear all of that”, he said.
“But I think deep down I always believed that Malta, given the solid jurisdiction, deserved to have its space at least once a year. So I stuck by that and thank god, one by one we managed to persuade everyone, or almost everyone”, he added.
Now that Pulis and team SiGMA have gotten into the groove with the right conference organizing strategy within the hottest industries around, its time to look beyond hosting events solely on their home turf.
“I’m just getting warmed up with Malta. The plan is to expand this successful formula”, Pulis shared.
“We have plans to launch a blockchain show for the Emirates. I know the Emiratic governments, they are embracing the technology at government level, to have the government on the blockchain, so we want to compliment what the government is doing there by having a show in Dubai and we also would love to experiment with a big show in Manila for gaming”, he said.
“So blockchain show in the Emirates, gaming show in Manila and for that to happen, I would need to move from Malta and be based in Dubai for that”, Pulis revealed.
“There is no guaranteed success but it’s a calculated risk that I’m looking forward to take with my team and I believe it can work as well”, he added.