GPWA Times Magaine - Issue 23 - February 2013

For this issue we’ve assembled a quartet of managerial heavyweights – two men and two women who are seasoned industry veterans and are currently putting their extensive experience to work to help affiliates become more successful. Say hello to Bernard Marantelli, from Colossus Bets; Ilan Nachmani, from BrightsShare; Lee-Ann Johnstone, from NETELLER; and Marit von Stedingk, from Affiliate REPUBLIK. If you’re not working yet with any members of this talented quartet, we’re pretty sure that after you’ve read their interviews you’ll want to get in touch with them – and make some beautiful music together. Affiliate Manager Interview Series MEET THE AFFILIATE MANAGERS BERNARD MARANTELLI Colossus Bets Colossus Bets takes a unique approach to sports betting. In- stead of offering straight bets, you offer multiples or parlays (picking exact scores) with guar- anteed pool payouts of up to £10 million. How did the concept for a sports betting site that of- fered huge guaranteed jackpots come about? Deciding to offer the world’s biggest bet did not happen overnight. I’ve been exploring the concept of offeringhuge jackpots on sports betting since acquiring my MBA at London Business School. I have professionally played the various incumbent products for the past decade and realized they had numerous flaws. The most obvious flaws I saw were: content lacking in global appeal; appalling value be- ing provided to players; a cyclical lack of critical mass; and players feeling helpless, locked in for the entire bet. So I set about building a betting product which addressed those flaws and which has pro- duced the £10,000,000 “Colossus” (football Pick 7 correct scores) and a host of supporting products. Colossus Bets is providing players with something entirely new – the chance to win eight-figure pay- outs (£10,000,000) from day one (solving the “value” and “liquid- ity” flaws) based on the world’s most popular sporting content – top-level European soccer leagues (solving the “interest” flaw). In addition we are allowing players to cash-in tickets (or fractions of tickets) as the games progress (solving the “helpless” flaw). The cash-in option enables players to avoid the “near miss” scenario, one of the perennial frustrations of multi-leg bet players. As CEO, you’ve been building Colossus Bets for almost a year now. How is the team coming together? Are you still looking to fill any positions? And what’s the office vibe like so far? The team is coming along very well. My software partner i-neda have built an amazing back-end and website. David O’Reilly, former managing director for Betfair Gibraltar, has recently joined the team, as have a few young talented professionals who look to have bright futures in the gambling industry. In terms of further recruitment, I am still looking to fill a few roles, includ- ing an affiliate manager, and more widely I am always interested in hearing from people who think they have the skills and passion to help us build a great company from the ground floor. We have an office in Central Lon- don and the buzz of a startup, where people really feel they are on the verge of something big. Most nights I need to chase them out of the office. When do you plan to go live with the site? What still needs to be done in order to get the site up and running? We are in the pro- cess of finalizing our website, so in theory we could be live in a few weeks, but it is now a commercial decision, taking into account the timelines (IT integrations, main- ly) and wishes of B2B interests. So I envisage a soft launch in early 2013, and a full launch with sev- eral B2B partners for the 2013-14 European soccer season. Unfortunately, the online gam- bling industry has a history of sites failing to make payouts when people have won big, and several sites have gone out of business as a result. How can players and affiliates be sure that you’ll have the funds nec- essary to make large payouts to winners? We have working capi- tal and separate risk capital, con- tributed by myself and investors. We have in place a £20 million “risk pot” that will be used exclu- sively to underwrite our multi- million-pound guaranteed prizes. That £20 million sum sits in a bank account which is segregated from the company’s own account and we have appointed a top-four U.K. accountancy firm to report on this risk capital. We believe that there is a fantas- tic synergy between the affiliate partnership marketing channel and the unique consumer propo- sition we are offering. One of the ways that we will demonstrate our trustworthiness to our affiliates is by paying them their share of rev- enue on a weekly basis. Did you consider trying to buy insurance instead of put- ting the money aside in trust? I realize that most betting com- Affiliate Manager Interview Series