As we close out the decade which has seen Parimatch rise to become one of the most exciting and recognisable brands in gaming, the company’s CEO, Sergey Portnov, reflects on a year where the company partnered with some of sports biggest stars, the betting potential for Euro 2020 and why its people really are the key to everything…
What were your most fulfilling moments of 2019?
2019 was very fruitful for us. In the midseason there was time for us to blow up ahead of the important events in sports season. The last 12 months also saw the signing of new ambassadors: Conor McGregor and Mike Tyson. Following this we also launched successful marketing campaigns with the stars which can be viewed on our Youtube account.
However, the achievement I find the most fulfilling is how much we’ve invested in our people. We`ve recruited new talents strengthening our team with professionals in Marketing, Product, Revenue and Billing so our team is now as impressive as it ever been before.
If you had to select your top priorities for the company in the coming year, what would they be?
The number one priority is of course the legalisation of betting in Ukraine. We’re closely monitoring the regulation process around betting in the country we’ve been born in and are hopeful the government will adopt a liberal model for the Ukrainian market to grow and develop according to the international standards.
Our next aspiration is to find a new home for Parimatch where we will be gathered under one roof in one big cozy office!
In addition, 2020 will see us double down on the international expansion into the Asian and African markets and we will also be pushing a full migration of our sportsbook platform Natasha throughout the coming 12 months. Also, let’s not forget Euro 2020 where we will definitely set new records during the championship!
Most companies have a planning horizon of maybe 12 months but Parimatch does things differently, what’s the scope of your brand strategy going into 2020?
We definitely have a vector and understand what we are aiming at in the five, three and one-year perspective. We count it only as vector as gaming business is very changeable hence why we leave the adaptability quota high. Thus, we make our business very adaptable to new circumstances. We have a global plan for profit and players but how we reach it can vary right up to a 180-degree turn. We believe that we must have a broad plan, and this business requires vitality and adaptability in order to achieve something. Sometimes it is very difficult to predict what will happen in a year with regulation, marketing, and technology. Therefore, it is important to have a clear 6-month plan and an approximate annual. Everything that is after a year is aspiration and vector.
You’ve focused a lot of resource on HR and ensuring employee happiness this year, with such a strong team are you hoping to expand again going forward?
Team and talents are our primary focus. The famous phrase ‘people is an asset of the business’ for us is not just a hackneyed phrase, but a canon that does not need to be proved and confirmed. We just believe in it and implement it in the company. We bring new people who add value, expand the scope of thinking, and convey managerial, strategic experience. We have a constant influx of personnel at all levels, both TOP management and ordinary employees. People are the core of the business. Our aims, which in breadth is to conquer the world, can only be achieved with strong people who will take responsibility and act. We hold many events, coaching, trainings, development programs, participate in exhibitions and conferences. Everything in order to consolidate loyalty to the company and equip people with the necessary skills to achieve ambitious goals.
Parimatch is expanding its partnership with brand ambassador Conor McGregor, can you tell us more about what you’ve got planned?
We have a great relationship with Conor. That gave us the idea of a deeper partnership, which, perhaps, would not be limited to just an ambassador contract, but would come to joint ventures in new or existing projects. All options will be considered. We are just now discussing this with him and the field of options is very wide. I won’t be surprised if next year he becomes one of the Parimatch shareholders!
You finished the decade with a stellar line-up of ambassadors and partnerships, are you able to tease us with any potential signings you’re meeting with to expand the Parimatch family?
We are always looking for new stars. There will definitely be footballers, because football is a mass market and we must stay with our clients for football. Clubs and football stars are foreseen with both legends of the past and present in our sights. We will also focus on Hollywood stars, those who are close to us in spirit. I do not want to spoil, but soon we will have new stars known to everyone. Of course, we will also carefully select the top bloggers and e-sportsmen for partnerships as they are the only way to conquer youth.
Since its foundation in 1994 Parimatch has built itself up to one of the most renowned and exciting brands in the market, how will you be celebrating all you’ve achieved in those 25 years?
Humbly and quietly… only joking!
Euro 2020 is going to be a celebration year, mainly for employees/partners, less for customers. We also love to over indulge our customers and we will continue to excite them regardless of our 25 years of achievements.