Jacob Lopez, CEO of Optima, discusses the firm’s success at scaling across Africa, and what it takes to really understand and cater to the idiosyncrasies of local demand.
iGAMING TIMES: Optima has seen extraordinary growth across West and South Africa in recent years – both online and retail. How do you explain your success there?
Jacob Lopez: Our product is fully tailored for the African market, the product verticals and the services we have integrated, payment suppliers for example, are key. Also the outstanding performance and scalability of our platform, Optima MGS, is important for maximizing the business in a region where capacity and speed of the system is crucial.
Flexibility in the commercial models, an easy to use platform and the additional benefit of many years developing for real operators in the sportsbetting and gaming industry worldwide, give us an angle that not many other companies could take.
Also, because we are fully independent. Our decisions are always for the benefit of our partners and customers, without considering any particular interest by Optima. This is part of our vision: to be recognised by our partners as the organisation that helps them thriving and striving in a growing and very competitive market.
Our business model is lined up to make sure our partners and customers are leaders in their respective regions, with possibilities that no other platform provider in the market is offering today.
iGT: What do you see are the key challenges operators face across the continent – and how does your product help to overcome them?
JL: Innovation and differentiation, regulation and flexibility.
Through the delivery of our platform and our services, operators are able to innovate and differentiate constantly, at their pace and without being worried that their innovations and investment in product is then rolled out to by tens of other operators and competitors in the same market.
Our platform covers all the standards set by the different regulators worldwide. Regarding flexibility, there is not a single platform in the market that would be providing the flexibility that Optima offers to its partners – not only on the technology front, but also from the management team to the development and support teams. Our principles require us to offer that flexibility. An operator that wants to be a market leader, requires that from its platform supplier.
iGT: Your coverage across Africa spans across several different market. While there are similarities between them, as you’ve described, there are also major differences. How do you understand and cater to these nuances?
JL: We do an extensive analysis of each African region individually, and yes, they differ a lot. The products, the requirements and the user journey are different, but not only between regions, I’d say between operators.
Also, as we only work with real operators, their feedback and requirements are key. We never question or put in doubt any request from any of our partners – they get 100 percent what they require. So it’s not a matter of staying on top of technological developments for a particular region. We have a permanent research and development team that is constantly and incrementally including new innovative solutions and technologies to our platform and products. Then we shape the use of our technology to provide the best user experience and platform functionality for each region individually.