When Kristian Meets Christian, For Kambi It’s the Shape of Things to Come


It only takes two to make a church, and a win-win deal. So when cutting-edge Kambi buys red-hot Shape Games it’s probably a good idea to take a seat in the pew and listen, intently, if not reverentially, to the preacher man.

Following the €78.1 million (£69.69m/US$75.13m) merger earlier this month between growing iGaming Omnichannel Kambi and frontend specialists Shape, we at iGF give special attention to the expert insight of their respective CEOs, Kristian Nylén and Christian Risom, as they discuss the “whys and wherefores” of their fiscal marriage in a special “KambiCast”, recently hosted by the group’s SVP Marketing and Communications, Gerard Starkey.

Founded in 2010, Danish-origin Shape cut its teeth on building best-in-class apps for the likes of Apple, Novartis, Red Bull, Ikea, Bang & Olufsen and Credit Suisse, before entering the iGaming space in 2018.

Since then they’ve won a veritable hatful of awards as perhaps the leading creator of so-called ‘native’ software applications – coding and building specific-programming language for specific-device platforms.

As well as now offering an enhanced service to Kambi clients, Shape Games, with over 100 engineers, techies, executives and support crew, will continue to provide its services on a stand-alone basis to all comers.

“We believe that native [software] is going to eat the entire [iGaming] industry, as we’ve seen it do in other industries we’ve been involved in,” says Shape Co-founder Risom.

“And for that to come to fruition in an industry like this one, we needed a great partner that mirrored our culture and mirrored our goals that would allow us to go for the win.

“From our perspective, Kambi is basically a perfect match. It has all the qualities we could dream of in a partner.

“[Together with Kambi] we want to make a product that can compete with the ‘netflixes’, the ‘facebooks’, the ‘youtubes’ out there.”

To which, Nylén responds:

“Many of the prospects we are looking at are about to start their business in a newly-regulated market.

“They have a need for what we provide. But they also need what Shape provides.

“Part of our strategy going forward is to make our service more complete for these start-ups and there Shape fits-in even better – in both directions, which is great for us.”

For Nasdaq Stockholm-listed Kambi, which was spun-off from its then-parent Unibet in 2014, the merger, underlines Nylén: “Is also about the addition of good opportunities for our operators to buy things from [us], instead of sourcing it from somewhere else.

“We need more and more user-experience focus. That’s what makes this deal so exciting.”

Adds Risom: “If you want to win, it’s not about competing against the competitor next to you, you have to compete for people’s time. And you have to be able to deliver a great experience.”

Both CEOs, meantime, are happily anticipating the magic moment when two plus two equals five, when mutuality generates additional success.

Now that’s what you call synergy.

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