iGaming 2023: Top Tips to Help You GROWE in New Markets
Entering new and unchartered territories as a means of growth is an exciting opportunity. But it can also be a daunting task.
Understanding the nuances of new market payment-solution needs, compliance requirements, or content preferences, is an ongoing challenge for multi-jurisdictional operators.
With these commercial truths in mind, we spoke to Anton Rublievskyi, CEO and partner, of leading operator Growe.
Anton kindly shared his thoughts with iGamingFuture readers on what operators can do to make entry into new markets as smooth as possible and, most importantly, how you can continue to grow in these emerging markets sustainably long, long into the future.
Growe’s speciality lies in implementing cutting-edge entertainment, technology platforms, and payment solutions. With so much choice on the market for products like these, how can players identify and better understand the true value of your products in comparison to the competition?
“When we are entering each market, this is one of our main questions. We believe it’s a combination of different factors that makes you successful in any market.
“If you are coming to the market without any value, without any USP, then you will be spending large amounts of money for marketing and you will not receive the kind of results you want.
“Some markets are very competitive. Some markets have their own product requirements. When we’re entering any market, we do in-depth research. This enables each division of our headquarters including payments, marketing, CRM, HR, legal and finance, to carry out their jobs as effectively as possible.
“We compare all products in the market, as well as their features, bonus mechanics and retention strategies. In addition, we test all competitive platforms, gaining a truer understanding of how operators are actually communicating with the customers. Then we combine the best of what is out there to create a product that we know the industry needs.
“We have finely tuned our products for specific markets, especially exciting new regions like Africa. We invested in front-end technology because we understood that without a fast, data-lite product, it wouldn’t be possible to provide a maximised gaming experience for African players.
“In Africa, they want fast, simple products with instant payouts. We have a big payments department, and we’re investing in some external payment companies in order to bring the best payment solutions out there under our roof, combined into a single product.
“Our main aim is to get the best approval rates from deposits. Then the next important experience is withdrawal. This is a great way to build strong trust with our customer base, especially in emerging markets across Africa where, unfortunately, in some markets, there are companies that allow players to make deposits, but then when you want to make a withdrawal, they make it extremely difficult for you to get your money back.”
Why are Africa and other emerging market regions in Asia so important to Growe? What do you see as the main growth drivers for these markets?
“When we started, we understood that we need to have some focus on the emerging regions because the tier one markets have become so competitive.
“Going to the biggest markets such as Europe, North America, Canada or Australia, first of all, would be a huge investment that brings a lot more barriers to entry.
“Secondly, coming back to my earlier point, when you are entering a market, finding the USP is a challenge because if there are, for example, 200 operators at least, already established in the market, how can you realistically bring something new to the table?
“That’s why we decided to focus on emerging markets. There are three zones of emerging markets for us: Asia, Africa, and Latin America. We focused on these three parts of the world because we believe that their specific challenges and growth opportunities share a lot of similarities, being that they are at comparable stages of maturity in mobile technology, online payments and data connectivity.
“We focus our resources on these areas because we are confident that we know how to solve the problems of these markets. They are all growing economies and have great opportunities for expansion mainly due to growing penetration of mobile internet.”
Growe is an international company with 800 industry specialists located all over the world. How do you ensure you’re able to give your customers the same high-quality level of service regardless of location? What are the challenges with this?
“We solve this problem through the innate structure of our company. We have headquarters which acts as the bedrock for the entire company culture.
“In each region where we’re operating we have a regional division set up, each operating like small company startups with their own Regional Heads, CEOs, and Country Managers. We provide the product, the capital and business operational support, as well as a centralised HR and recruitment service, enabling them to be masters of their own local markets.
“Our customer-centric standards are mandated throughout our various regions. And our constituent entities are expected to uphold these values to the very highest level. This is one of the main objectives of our headquarters. They are there to ensure that the quality is the same, no matter which country you operate in. Our goal is to create regional teams with local expertise. But at the same time we aim to have close enough control so that all our affirmed quality standards are maintained.”
Growe is currently developing a new investment focus arm. With the iGaming industry growing so rapidly in recent years, why do you think investment is so important? What key areas of the industry do you think need the most support in terms of investment?
“Our focus of investment is not just about the iGaming industry, but also about global industry, about big companies such as Facebook or Google and the blueprint they have left for other tech companies to follow. They create infrastructure and multifaceted operations within one ecosystem.
“They started in one niche area and then they gained a clear understanding of customers’ needs. Then they started to buy and invest in areas that complement those aspects.
“We believe that to maximise our margins, and generate more revenue, we need to invest vertically, for example, with payments companies or digital marketing companies.
“In the markets that we operate in EBITDA margins are not high.
“For example, Africa has very low profit margins. This is caused by a mixture of regulations and high taxes. So–to ensure we receive a substantial income and bottom-line EBITDA–we need to diversify from the main business. It’s good to have an ecosystem that gives you opportunities to generate alternative streams of income.
“Currently our focus is mostly on payment solutions and affiliate marketing agencies because it gives us extra marketing power and also the opportunity to work in closer cooperation with the Affiliate world. The three main focuses of our investments will be in digital marketing, payment solutions and technology.”
After speaking with Anton, it’s encouraging to see that–regardless of the challenging operational environment that emerging markets present–forward thinking and purpose-built solutions provided by companies like Growe are available.
As pioneered by Growe, emerging markets offer great opportunities for ambitious brands, hoping to expand into new territories with minimised risk.
With Anton, we look forward to the fast-approaching day when these emerging markets in Africa, Asia and Latin America transition and flower into global iGaming leaders and successful international brands.
About Anton Rublievskyi
Anton Rublievskyi launched his first business back in 2004 at the age of 18. That was a website dedicated to mobile phones called http://mobilnik.ua. In 2007, the company was sold to the Obozrevatel Media Holding. In 2008, Anton launched two new projects based in Ukraine called Technoportal and Autoportal – price comparison websites of new and outdated tech and auto products, respectively. Then in 2011 this business was sold to the Chernovetskyi Investment Group. In collaboration with CIG, Anton opened a joint India-based business http://Autoportal.com – an online marketplace distributing new cars all over India. At the peak of the business development, Autoportal used to sell 3,500 brand new cars with GMV over $25M per month.