Moving Upstream With River Tech
iGaming operators are only as good as the technology powering their trajectory. The market, buoyed by an ever-evolving current of consumer expectations, ebbs and flows. And it’s a continual challenge to provide a leading customer experience.
Taking full advantage of available technology, and being alert to new tech advances and possibilities, will always be a critical factor in remaining a true competitor in the entertainment industry.
River Tech is a sterling example of a company that has embraced this key tenet and re-structured to make market-leading technology their core focus, enabling them to provide their clients with a real competitive edge.
We caught up with RT’s CEO David Eynon to find out more about River Tech’s new course of direction, the re-focus, the re-structure and–most importantly–to gain David’s valuable perspective on the future of iGaming.
What does the recent company name change from River iGaming to River Tech represent regarding your strategic approach to the market? How does a more tech-focused approach help to better serve the market going forward?
“The final part of our transition is now complete. River Tech now has a clear focus to build, support and innovate across all industries. Our team’s vast experience will continue to grow within the gaming industry but we are also looking to expand into new industries with our first venture taking on FinTech.
We do not class ourselves as “just” an iGaming company anymore. As a leading software development company, we believe our future is tech. Of course iGaming is still at our core and 2021 is already showing signs of diversity with payments and crypto a key area for growth.
Amid the emerging landscape of growing regulation, at times it can seem that every country wants to follow different rules and laws. So it’s paramount that a platform gives customers a smooth journey and experience, one that ensures that they are not unduly impacted by quick and volatile regulatory change. This can fall into payments, registration, game play, et cetera. We need to make sure we are flexible and compliant.”
M&A activity in the market has continued as expected with some major deals being closed recently. What effect do you think these deals will have on the future of the market? What role has M&A activity played in River Tech’s ability to ride the pandemic and ensure future growth?
“M&A was at the heart of River Tech’s strategy when we came to the market over two-years-ago. At the same time, let’s be open and concede that not every acquisition was the right decision. Our industry is constantly evolving and the pandemic is still very much with us. Of course we need to be cautious. But we also need to look beyond short term trends.
We made acquisitions to build a 360-iGaming company, what we understood to be the best strategy. But it was also hard to focus on so many strategic directions. So we made the hard decision to divest our B2C and Media Agency. By doing so, we came back to a core strategy and focus point and we are now reaping the rewards. By the end of 2020, River Tech plc achieved operational profitability. The market reacted positively to this change with the share price hitting its 52-week high and growing by 81.25 per cent year-on-year.
There will always be consolidation in our industry, especially with the opening-up of the US market. It’s often said that the gambling market is way behind other industries. I believe that too much consolidation hampers innovation in the market.
For the true growth of our industry businesses need to be able to carve a niche market with a quality product and clear strategy. One worry is that our industry will never get to this stage because the current focus is on regulation and new markets — not product and innovation.”
Some industry commentators argue that taking on more investors and company backers can make a company less agile and result in less innovation overall. How can this be avoided and how will River Tech use further investment and company backing to its advantage going forward?
“River Tech is very clear on its strategy and therefore potential investors need to be aligned to this. Our current board and investors are very supportive and our performance during 2020 has given us the flexibility we need to continue to be agile throughout 2021 and beyond.
When we take on new clients, we are not your standard software development company, we assess each client as a partner and encourage potential clients to pitch to us a business case, this way we can grow together and, in many cases, invest in their business.
Our investors and board members are M&A experts with a great track record. This support allows us to turn the majority of our potential clients into potential partners under our group.”
What are your thoughts on the B2C sector and how can an industry renowned service provider such as River Tech contribute to this part of the market going forward? Is this a model you expect to see replicated in the future within the iGaming industry?
“In the near future a return to B2C isn’t on the roadmap, but we don’t rule it out. As highlighted above, we may see an opportunity with a partner and feel it is the right time to re-enter the B2C arena.
Our core platform is built to support this very strategy. River Tech is truly bespoke and flexible, so when an opportunity arises we can move and move fast.
We do not have a “one size fits all” strategy or provision, as this only creates an off-the-shelf offering that gives all the operators the same product. Our industry struggles with innovation. So just changing the colour and name of the casino and putting all the emphasis on the operator to acquire customers in our opinion is wrong.
We have built a skeleton format that works with modules. This allows us to enter any market with any product and support any client requirements, ultimately providing our clients with the feel of an in-house tech team on a uniquely personal basis.
For me, its clear innovation is not going to come from the type of betting. If we look at the casino floor it’s never changed — and neither has the tabs on our websites. Innovation must be deeper. We need to focus on each customer’s journey, in which four areas stand out: Acquisitions, Retention, Game Play and Payments. Get the customer in, get them playing, get them paid and get them back…all this with responsible gambling at the core.
If we can make every customer’s journey unique, safe, and enjoyable that platform can be placed in any market and across any product.”
Editor’s Note: From talking with David, it’s clear that re-focusing River Tech’s company strategy and concentrating on providing leading-edge technology is paying off. The evolving landscape of regulation means that every country wants to follow different rules and laws, so successfully operating a platform that can ensure a smooth customer journey while making sure volatile regulatory changes don’t impact their customer’s experience is becoming increasingly difficult.
Whether it be payments, registration or game play, we need to make sure we are flexible and compliant. Having the right back-end technology will enable our industry to do this more efficiently. Companies like River Tech are leading the way with this transition and we’re sure this shift in focus is a trend that will continue to be adopted throughout the industry.