13 May, 2024

From the ground up: EveryMatrix's new HQ revealed

At the unveiling of EveryMatrix’s new office in Bucharest, Romania, Gambling Insider Staff Writer Beth Turner sat down with CEO Ebbe Groes to discuss the new office, catching market trends and running a modular company

“It’s nice to do something from the ground up,” reflects Ebbe Groes as we sit in his upstairs office penthouse, his dog Kaia beside him.

Groes is speaking to Gambling Insider at EveryMatrix’s new office in Bucharest, Romania. It is a surprisingly sunny day in March for the capital, with the penthouse’s large windows letting in the sunlight and making for great city viewing. However, unlike Kaia, now is not the time for us to lounge in the sun.

The office was purpose-built for the EveryMatrix team, which is said to hold room for up to 400 of the supplier’s 1,000 staff. Each floor is divided into sections designed to hold different segments of the team, with a circular pattern light fixture in the front centre of the building to tie it all together. The lifts connecting the floors are high tech, with an efficiency akin to the doors of a London Underground train – that is, don’t try to get in while the doors are closing.

The office was unveiled to Gambling Insider on Monday 18 March 2024. Provided with a guided tour of the building and some insightful talks from various members of the EveryMatrix team on the company’s various offerings, we were given the chance to chat with some of the senior team about the new structure. Step forward the CEO!

“I was there at the groundbreaking ceremony,” he tells us, before describing how he placed a time capsule with business cards and other items at the site so that “in a few generations, when this will be replaced by something, some space station, they’ll be able to find my card.”

The office is far more than just desks and chairs, however, if the penthouse we are in is anything to go by. The office also has a function space with its own kitchenette, and daycare space with an attached balcony. It also holds a staff gym and massage room, of which Groes is particularly fond of the boxing equipment (matching my personal delight at the inclusion of an indoor exercise trampoline).

So, surrounded by EveryMatrix’s new facilities, we delved into conversation.

Future expansion

According to Groes, deciding on where to expand the business is “more than just adding numbers.” It is about finding regions with the right amount of business and building from there. “The US is a good example. For instance, we spent a lot of time and a lot of money on getting the licences and having a team on the ground. But the business we have there today is of a lesser scale, so it’s about taking this and growing it.”

The majority of EveryMatrix’s work is in Europe, Groes explains. Despite this, there is an awareness that there are still opportunities to be embraced; an important tactic both defensively and offensively. “There’s a bit of a grow or die thing here, so we’re growing and we’re happy. You have to stay aggressive like sharks. Even though they might be unpleasant animals for small fish, we have to embrace a shark mentality.”

Being a 360-degree supplier

EveryMatrix operates with a modular system; each of its divisions, be it its lottery division, sports betting division OddsMatrix or affiliate division PartnerMatrix, works independently, with its own C-suite overseeing operations. It provides a way to customise the client experience with the products they need, while having a solution for all operating needs available if desired. It is a multi-product approach, with clients able to pick and choose as needed. “This is one of the big downsides of selling solutions that are fully integrated only with themselves. You can never know if there are weak points in your delivery masked by things that work really well.

“Each module has its own CEO, CTO, divided so each part can shine on its own,” Groes continues. By dividing the business into modules, each segment can perform individually. No one module can significantly drag down the performance of others. Plus, as the CEO himself quips: “If it’s homogeneous, I don’t have to work!” Joking aside, a modular company makes for a reduction in micromanagement, allowing Groes to keep his focus on the big picture. A helicopter view, so to speak, which gives other C-level specialists the autonomy they need to run their respective divisions.

DeepCI and the power of AI

Speaking of segments, we then get on to discussing DeepCI, EveryMatrix’s AI overlay tool that was acquired last year, and has received praise from across the industry. “The first thing we did was double the staff,” Groes recounts.

“It’s less than a year ago since we acquired them. Innovative products; the first of their kind on the market. It was a great idea. They managed to build a profitable business with many clients before we acquired them. I said: I really admire what you’ve done.”

This admiration for the DeepCI team resulted in a new, permanent residence in the Philippines – DeepCI was no longer a “working from home, classic freelancer start-up.” Groes wanted to do this properly. The once-scattered development team now has a base of operations, with new salespeople, account managers and a Chief Commercial Officer to boot.

DeepCI is used by PartnerMatrix to combine traffic data and package it to bookmakers. Whether this is the frequency with which their name appears on social media or how much money an operator is generating, data can be combined to paint a picture of where the money is coming from and where there is room for improvement. The integrated solution with DeepCI and PartnerMatrix’s affiliate system is expected to make an appearance at iGB Live in Amsterdam this summer.

Turning back the clock

If the Bucharest office wasn’t enough to bring about some perspective on the development of EveryMatrix from its founding in 2008, Groes spends some time reflecting on his experiences in the gaming industry. “It is incredibly volatile. It’s incredibly challenging. The landscape is changing constantly... It is one of the reasons why I think many people enjoy being in the industry. What was conventional wisdom and the leading operators and providers 10 years ago, even five years ago, can change dramatically. You see the rise and fall of empires, not measured in a generation but in a decade or less.

"You need to constantly reinvent yourself"

Technology, naturally, has played a big part in this. Technology provides opportunities for creativity and drives ideas to completion – though with new technology also comes new regulation. “Regulation may be a bit of a boring topic. But if you talk about what has really changed in that 15-year period, it will be regulation. At the time when we started the company, you would have a UK licence. Then almost anybody, any other country, would target with some dot.com licence, The Isle of Man, Malta, etc. All this changed; the US back then was not open. So there has been a massive change in that way.”

Complexities for operators result in benefits for cross-border technology providers like EveryMatrix, according to Groes. With growing demands and growing regulations as the years have gone by, I found all this talk of evolving technologies and evolving markets intriguing. Sure, it is easy to see now who the big players are and where industry interest is, but can you spot these trends before they hit the mainstream?

Is there a way to tell between a trend that’s here to stay and one that will fizzle out?

“That’s a good question,” Groes remarks. “I do think you grow capability to judge and evaluate, and have opinions. The whole history of the industry is littered with examples of smart people and well-funded people that made very large bets on things that went horribly wrong. You’re forced to do it anyway; it’s not like you can just escape making these bets.”

Though, EveryMatrix does have one advantage mitigating the fallout of a bad bet. Its modular approach allows trends to be chased as seen fit, without putting the company as a whole at risk. “We can place bets on various trends and more than one.”

EveryMatrix also operates EM Labs, an interesting module of the company that was emphasised during EveryMatrix’s presentations at the office during our media trip. The EM Labs, as far as I was aware, seemed like the perfect playground to try out these emerging technologies – with some forward-thinking results to come from it. “We launched live dealer two months ago; that was a lab project and quite a large one. We knew from the beginning it would be several million Euros. We built it from scratch and I’m not running it personally. So, for a period, I was devoting myself to hiring the management team. They were all hired by April two years ago. In the first year, we built the software and year two, which is now almost over, we moved into the production stage... It’s a lab project. We take it to a certain state and say ‘looks good!’

The power of personalisation

All this talk of trends has me wondering – what trends were on Ebbe Groes’ radar? The surging popularity of crash games, the emerging live dealer market? His answer is far simpler; personalisation. Personalisation has been a developing point of conversation across the industry (see our interview with Atlas Worlds Sports Founder and CEO in the May edition of Trafficology for more). “Many others have been preaching that personalisation towards the player would be such a key element. It’s sort of coming around now, but I really thought it would have come earlier.”

Despite many across the industry trying their hand at personalisation, including EM Labs, “more or less, nobody has succeeded,” according to Groes. Personalisation is essential for keeping players engaged with a product. If it doesn’t cater to them, why stay? Why not visit a different sportsbook that may have better odds and better introductory customer offers? Personalisation is something other industries, especially those operating in digital spaces, have caught on to. It seems, according to Groes, that now is our time to catch up.

Groes describes personalisation as one of the industry’s “holy grails.” He says he is “watching to see who will finally get this sorted properly because it should have happened,” and that he is “working with other companies that are trying to solve this.” He adds: “We’re going to take the data we have and try to enrich it to have some sort of foundation.

"If you sit on data, you can do great things"

Hopes and dreams for 2024

To conclude our chat, I go with a classic. Despite it being an easy last question, it is one I always anticipate; especially from those with as wide a birds-eye view on their company as the CEO. “Financially, I hope we can do what we did last year, which was outstanding,” Groes began.  “We achieved 75% growth last year. I hope to do at least 50% and keep this momentum. It’s helping so much with many other things we’re doing. It’s a bit boring to have financial targets like this to be what you hope to achieve.”

Alongside financial goals (which are not boring, I’ll have you know!), Groes speaks about some of the projects EveryMatrix hopes to get off the ground this year, including live dealer. “It’s like a baby. You put a lot of effort into it, we want to see it succeed. Now it’s just been launched, we have to improve. But, you know, as with all babies, the first one is the crucial one. I really hope if I see you again in a year from now we will say ‘wow, this new product that was a recent output from our labs really came off to a good start.’ If not, we will have to say goodbye to that one and hope for the next baby.”

For all the firstborn children out there, we wish EveryMatrix’s live dealer product well!

The aftermath

After my conversation with Groes – and other members of the executive EveryMatrix team, which you can find on our website and GI Friday – we headed off to dinner. The Truffle Risotto was wonderful (as was corroborated by Group CCO Bobby Longhurst) and we found that Ebbe Groes has great taste in wine.

Before my return the following afternoon, myself and others from the EveryMatrix team and took a tour of the city, noting historic landmarks and taking in stories of the city from our tour guide.

My personal highlights included the Romanian Patriarchal Cathedral and views of the Palace of the Parliament, alongside what might be the best orange juice I have ever had from the hotel’s breakfast selection.

EveryMatrix’s hospitality cannot be understated, considering the openness and kindness of the team. This was a trip that will not be quickly forgotten. But where, as Groes said earlier, will EveryMatrix be as a company 12 months from now? We will be sure to check back in and find out. Pace și dragoste, România!

"Personalisation is something other industries, especially those operating in digital spaces, have caught on to. It seems, according to Groes, that now is our time to catch up"