Uplatform, a sports betting and casino operating platform, launched just before the pandemic hit.
Joining a sector where word of mouth is crucial, Kate Romanenko, Head of Games, explains how Uplatform is seeking to become a strong and reliable brand on the market.
What is Uplatform?
I’d like to say a “breath of fresh air among iGaming platforms,” but to be completely transparent – Uplatform is a solid turnkey solution for online betting and casino operators, enabling them to step into regulated markets and customise their content in their most desired way.
Solutions providing is an intensely competitive space. What is Uplatform’s point of differentiation?
The competition is indeed intense; here, we are not even speaking about the platform solutions by themselves, but established game providers are becoming game aggregators, and some of them are becoming platforms. Thus, yes, we at Uplatform always have to watch out for what’s interesting and useful on the market and listen to our clients to see what they really need.
Among Uplatform’s outstanding features are, first of all, the fact that most of the employees come with great iGaming backgrounds and, secondly, the fact that the platform is newly developed, so it has fewer possible setbacks and less older development, resulting in a less negative experience for our clients. I find it really great that Uplatform is a relatively new technology on the market.
For me personally, it’s the most significant differentiator. As per our client’s feedback – they appreciate our approach as they see Uplatform not just as a platform supplier. We are serious with our goals – delivering our client’s success and prosperity.
To do so, we have a genuine interest in their project even after launch with accessible communication without any additional formalities.
Uplatform has attended multiple exhibitions since the events circuit got back on the road. What was the focus of customer enquiries at these events?
Let’s be honest, these initial offline events were more about reconnecting after a break, meeting old friends and partners, as well as meeting new faces, of course. Apart from all the chit-chat, operators expressed interest in the flexibility of the platform, its customisation capacity, and the richness of content and pricing.
Uplatform launched just before the pandemic hit. How has Covid shaped Uplatform’s business strategy at such an embryonic stage in its development?
With all due respect to the worldwide situation and uncertain times, I want to say it was maybe even easier than if we were all together at the office. Of course, it wasn’t as smooth as we were hoping it to be. Many of the issues that other platforms were dealing with were magnified double for us. Anyway, we didn’t have much choice, so it’s hard to predict if the development would have gone faster or differently.
We are all very proud of the results, we believe we are moving forward quickly due to employees backgrounds, and we are all definitely highly motivated to work on something fresh and new, we treat every operator as the first client, I mean to say it’s not on automated rollover at all, and it definitely brings its charm, so we can’t complain really, and I think we are all together moving fast.
Would you say the pandemic has helped from a future proofing and versatility perspective?
I definitely believe the pandemic helped us, as humanity, evolve faster in the way that we are forced to overcome the discomfort of rapid changes in our lifestyle. I mean, if we were not forced to be locked at home and find the way to keep working, studying etc. it would take us years longer to come to the point we are now at.
In terms of home office, or remote work or studies, or the wonderful choice after the pandemic to select your workplace – do you want to return to the office or keep it from your country house with breath-taking views and so on. I believe the business became shaped as well.
Firstly, I believe the circle of establishing and running a business is shorter and faster; deals are getting closed faster, and so on. Secondly, the pandemic gave a push to new or previously “not as popular” businesses, and the technology started dancing around healthcare – look at Headspace and other meditation/breathing Apps, training and fitness Apps, and remote courses.
It is very important to admit that today we live in “an even faster” moving world where web technologies and digitalisation are vital for business. They never stop developing and improving. This all applies to our industry as well.
What is your hero product – Usports, Ucasino or Utools? Do they go hand in hand or are they individual products in their own right?
The hero is Uplatform itself, where you can get all the services together. But also, each of them will be available as a separate solution itself. I’m sure Usports will be a success since it’s a tailored product which is created by human and machine powers united.
It provides original odds for betting, constantly monitored and supported by quite a big team. Ucasino is a games aggregator if put simply, I’m personally responsible for this unit and I want to collect the best content on the market, doing my best negotiating the most interesting rates so that our clients will be happy about both quality of the games content and the rates as well.
Last but not least, Utools is a bunch of advanced backoffice solutions, reporting and other tools to make sure operators have all the data they need to run their business in the right direction.
What are Ugames?
This is a games provider within Ucasino, they are developing fast (instant) games mainly, as well as other RNG games, we came to a partnership that this content provider will rely on us as an exclusive distributor hence the name.
As Head of Games, what is your remit?
My role is to build the games portfolio for Uplatform, as mentioned above, it will be distributed as part of the platform solution or separately as the game aggregator. The goal is to have the best performing content in the popular markets to enable our clients to target regulated markets with the correct content for them.
My focus is the quality of games (popularity, mechanics, features, weight, loading speed) and pricing – as I want to make our clients happy, what can be better than amazing price-quality balance.
What trends are you seeing in player behaviour across slots and live casino?
The main trend throughout the industry must be growth, I believe. Even though our client base is yet to grow, and thus, I do not possess very deep BI data, I think we can clearly state that players love Live casino games, maybe because it really started evolving as a vertical, or maybe because they love to feel like in a real casino, it’s hard to say, because I think both apply.
At the same time, we can see that the slot players are also quite active. I guess it’s a bit too soon to assess our platform’s trends; it’s usually better to evaluate year-on-year results, frankly speaking.
How are slot providers and operators responding to these changes?
Every operator on our platform is pretty much playing with their strategy. I believe, we can see that some content providers are jumping in numbers from month to month, some are slowly and steadily growing, which gives us the understanding that everybody is maybe testing promotion methods, possibly different affiliates, it all depends.
I believe it’s worth mentioning that it seems quite challenging to keep the end players excited and interested in slots; we can see lots of old mechanics in action and constantly emerging new mechanics, like the Infinity Reels by ReelPlay or X Features by Nolimit City.
Also, as we can see, just having various themes is no longer needed; we can see how Fruits and Gods, and maybe Adventures, are dominating, and some game providers are just focusing on Fruits, for instance, but they play with mechanics.
What are Uplatform’s immediate plans to establish itself as a recognised brand?
Well, content is king, still. So we are investing in marketing and brand awareness in all its merits, we’ll use all possible channels to spread the word about us and our products.
Our marketing team is planning engaging promos for ongoing events (don’t forget to stop by at SiGMA in Malta and ICE in London), creating insightful and entertaining content for our media partners, working with social media and other types of traditional b2b marketing. We have plenty of planned activities and outreach, so you’ll hear a lot about Uplatform in the near future!
Longer term, what’s the ambition?
The best marketing usually comes from existing customers – it is indeed a bit of a long term action, so we are doing our best to keep our first operators happy and to keep up the high standards as we really count on it.
We understand trust and “word of mouth” doesn’t come immediately but requires time and we took on the challenge.
The ambition is of course, to be great, stand out of the competition and keep improving our product and client relationships so that we become a strong reliable brand on the market and finally stop investing into traditional b2b marketing.