Taking a business from start-up to scale-up

I worked in the banking and finance industry for 20 years in various senior positions, but I reached a point where I felt like I needed a change.

The industry had changed a lot since I first started working in finance. It was like what we are seeing in gaming now – the industry was a lot of fun to work in, but more and more regulations were starting to be introduced.

When I decided I wanted a change of pace, I started talking with some great people, one of whom was an Angel Investor who had invested in Triggy. She knew that they were looking for an external CEO, so she introduced me to the company’s founders, and we just clicked right away.

Even though I didn’t know that much about the gaming industry back then, they knew that with my financial background, I had the skills needed to take Triggy to new heights.

Taking a leap of faith

The origin of CallsU in the igaming industry goes way back to 2006. Until recently the company has been growing organically and quietly, but my business partner and I have decided to get the brand out there and make it well known, so we launched CallsU last year.

I really believe in the CallsU offering; it achieves amazing ROI for our customers – actually, best in class across the entire industry, which we are super proud of.

To give you an idea of what CallsU does, we work with igaming operators offering player acquisition and reactivation services. My business partner has two master’s degrees in marketing and one PhD in behavioural science, so he knows this space really well.

For me personally, I have always loved a challenge. I enjoy building something from scratch and seeing it grow. The CEO role at CallsU seemed like it would be just that. I also believe we have great product-market-fit in igaming and the timing could not be better with operators realising the value and importance of retention, reactivation, and high-quality player engagement.

Analysing the data that CallsU has collected over the past 18 years in this niche has given us a deep understanding of how we can apply our technologies and expertise to get fantastic results.

New heights

As I mentioned earlier, when I first started at Triggy, I was completely new to the gaming industry. But over the last three and a half years I have learned so much about the industry and about building networks. I really understand the importance of having a strong team and good people in the network. For me, these lessons shape everything I do.

I always want to have great people around me – I want good investors, a good management team, and a strong company culture. I also want to work with great customers. You need amazing people to achieve amazing results. This was something that was so important for me when working at Triggy, and it’s just as important now at CallsU.

When you have a great team and great partnerships, it really is a win-win situation. It pushes you to find new ways to be more accountable, more professional and also have fun while doing it. This was a big part of the culture at Triggy and is something that I will foster at CallsU as well. It’s all about the people.

Of course, gambling companies must also keep up with the ever-changing digital standards brought on by the big tech brands. I’d like to think that the gambling industry is in a good position for this because we have better opportunities for growth than many other industries. There is still great potential to learn from other tech companies about how we can build amazing customer journeys and outstanding player experiences.

The igaming community is highly adaptable, and as an industry we can adjust accordingly to different conditions. We’re in a great position to push the boundaries of innovation even further.

Outside influences

When it comes to influences from other industries, social media would be the first that springs to mind as it’s something that most of us are using in our daily lives. It is super easy to work with and is really personalised to each individual and organisation. It’s also great way to show off a brand’s character and values.

I also think that the gaming industry can look to retail as an example on how to elevate the overall experience for bettors; for example, how retailers gather data on how our shopping and purchasing behaviours have changed, and how their brands can adjust marketing and engagement to suit individual customers.

From my personal experience, the finance industry could also provide a lot of inspiration for innovation. When I started in finance 25 years ago, the industry was in the same phase as the gaming industry is today. Sometimes I hear the same kind of concerns about changes in regulations and the challenges this can pose.

Finance practices can teach us about how we can work alongside regulators to support our businesses and improve our industry, rather than playing cat and mouse.

We have to look at regulatory changes with fresh eyes to find out how we can add value while still being compliant. We protect our collective interests by looking forward and embracing change.

Bolstering safer gambling

It is a combination of both technology and engagement, rather than just marketing, that can help the industry implement better safer gambling strategies today.

With technology, by harnessing artificial intelligence, machine learning and algorithms, we can analyse patterns in player behaviour and flag problematic activities. That can then enable us to reach out to those players and provide them with the support that they need when they need it most.

It is so important that we, as an industry, put player health at the forefront of our businesses. It comes back to that idea of protecting the reputation of our industry; as we are an entertainment-first industry. Gambling should be like going to the movies or going to see a live event. It should be fun and safe.

As with anything else, there is a portion of people who enjoy a flutter, there is a portion of the people who are averse to gambling, and then there is portion of people who are indifferent. If we can show those latter two groups of people that the gambling industry is safe entertainment by building and maintaining our reputation, it will have a lasting positive impact. We have so much to gain in this way. 

Offering a helping hand

There’s an expression from Richard Branson, which goes something like: “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”

I really love that, and I think that it rings true. If someone shows that they believe in you, take that opportunity. But most importantly, believe in yourself too. Try to push yourself out of your comfort zone and take every opportunity to learn something new.

I didn’t know much about the gaming industry when I started at Triggy. But I have learned so much about this sector over the last few years; that wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t pushed myself out of my comfort zone. It is challenging at first, but you will find a way.

For many women, we have been told that the only way we will be successful is if we imitate men – whether that be how we dress, how we speak to people, or the character traits that we display. However, I couldn’t disagree more. We need to show our individuality, and actively collaborate with our peers, bringing our individual perspectives as women. We are so much stronger as organisations when we come together and challenge our own ways of thinking.

This was prominent during the pandemic, when female leaders were at the forefront of change – introducing new ways of working and adapting their companies so they could navigate the challenges that the pandemic posed. As women, we should be proud of our unique competencies, viewpoints, and modes of thinking and doing.

Engage with women, and other likeminded people, who inspire you and you will succeed. At the end of the day, being a woman is a superpower – embrace your individuality and continue to push those boundaries.

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