After launching back in February, Nathan Joyes caught up with Betconnect’s Co-founder, Daniel Schreiber, to see how the company has progressed since ICE London.
What developments have occurred since Gambling Insider caught up with Betconnect at ICE?
We had just launched the product a couple of weeks before ICE and the last five months have been a whirlwind. As it is a new concept, people have been very keen to know more about it.
To be honest, we were overwhelmed with the interest we have received. A lot of our clients are trying to crack social gambling and with it being a new concept, everyone has been keen to see how we would progress and the impact we would have on the industry.
We’re attracting all kinds of users: exchange layers, for example, are coming to Betconnect as no other exchange offers commission-free laying. On other exchanges, if you lay and you win, you pay commission whereas with Betconnect our punters, who are effectively our layers, they are always commission-free. That has helped us attract a much wider audience.
How many pros is Betconnect now working with?
We now have over 800 registered pros on our books. Predominately, over 50% of our volume is on horseracing, which is great because where the industry suffers in terms of the exchanges, liquidity on horseracing doesn’t exist between early morning until half hour before a race. Liquidity is pretty light, especially if you’re a big hitter.
If you are looking to back horses at the early prices, the only place you can get a reasonable bet on is with the bookmakers. So what we have noticed is we are becoming that kind of market to our players, between early morning and 20 minutes before the race itself.
This wasn’t something we expected at first; we were surprised with the significant interest in horseracing, with pros placing bets of all sizes. The lack of liquidity on exchanges has definitely helped us gain more players.
Ideally, by the end of 2019, we want to be up to 2,500 pros and we believe this is more than achievable as more and more people begin to discover Betconnect. I think the customer service side of the industry has been lacking in recent years, and that’s something we really pride ourselves on.
When we last spoke, Betconnect made it clear it wanted to build a social presence. Are there any plans in place?
Marketing is very expensive these days and we think because of our product, which is so niche, it does stand out in a highly competitive industry. We can go the social route and grow the product organically which is what we are trying to achieve. We’ve expanded our marketing team who are helping do exactly that.
Feedback from our customers has been positive. They feel as though they are part of a community which is exactly what we want. We feel if we continue to expand the social side of Betconnect, the future will be very exciting indeed.
You previously claimed Betconnect can be bigger than Betfair – is this still something you stand by? Is it still achievable?
Betfair is a juggernaut and there’s definitely a long way to go to knock them off the top spot in terms of exchanges – and the thing with exchanges is you need liquidity from both sides of the fence. It’s a competitive environment. We’re up against four big exchanges in the UK but given we are five months old now, we are pretty much holding our own.
It's interesting when you look at the other exchanges and you see the volumes we have matched on certain events compared to what has been done elsewhere. It's exciting times when we know we are matching more than other exchanges on various races and other sporting events.
We’re currently looking into potential partnerships in the US and we’re looking at spending more time and exploiting these opportunities now we are up and running. Our main aim is to get the concept nailed here in the UK before we venture anywhere else.
What are Betconnect’s ambitions for the rest of 2019?
There have been a few feature changes to the platform. We’re currently going through a re-branding exercise in the next few months which we are excited about, just to change the look and feel to our product. We’re passionate about Betconnect and we want the brand to reflect that, both with logos and the tone of voice.
We’ve run a number of focus groups and taken on board customer feedback which has given us some really useful insight.
Originally, we were charging 3% on football but we lowered that to 1% at the end of last season, which is the cheapest commission out there at present. We took the decision as we want to compete with the Asian market – because that's where the big syndicates and liquidity is found at present - and we feel Betconnect can bring a lot of this football betting volume back to the UK by offering our pros the competitive rate of 1%.
As I’ve mentioned, we are competing with four other exchanges and so we need to educate people about Betconnect and what we can offer them. We’re confident in our product and it has definitely attracted the attention of users and long may it continue.