Online gambling firm Aspire Global’s revenues and earnings climbed sharply in the second quarter of the year, which performance was significantly fuelled by the B2B activities of the group. Business Malta discusses the latest progress with Aspire Global CEO Tsachi Maimon who also offers a hint on what the group could deliver in the near future.
Aspire Global’s revenues increased by 32.1%, from €24.7m to €32.8m in Q2 2019, spurring growth in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) by 7.2%, from €5.7m to €6.1m. The performance of the group was considerably lifted by B2B revenues jumping by 57.5%, from €12.4m to €19.5m, constituting 59.6% of total revenues.
“Our B2B operations have been performing very strongly recently, which is very satisfying because we are bearing the fruits of all the hard work we have done in the last two to three years. Our product development teams have been designing and launching great new features for our partners and we have continued to focus on providing the best CRM [customer relationship management] system in the business so our operators can maximise lifetime values and reduce churn,” Aspire Global CEO Tsachi Maimon tells Business Malta.
Although the CEO could not reveal too much about their plans and expectations for the future — for Aspire being a public company — Mr Maimon believes the trend is clear: “We will strengthen our current portfolio of partners and add new ones to our platform; while enabling them to offer new products and features to their players,” the CEO tells BM.
With such a strong business-to-business (B2B) arm, one would wonder how strong the muscles are on the business-to-customer (B2C) limb. “We believe the way we have managed to combine our B2C work with our B2B activities is one of the reasons we have grown so successfully in recent years. We have a team that is focussed on B2C because like every other strong operator in the market we want Karamba to compete with the biggest names out there,” Mr Maimon breaks it down.
Success around Karamba has enabled Aspire Global to grow and perform well as a company, which the company sees has resulted in a strong showcase for the B2B partners of the firm. “They can see what our platform is capable of and when potential B2B partners come to us, we can show them the quality of our platform and when they sign with us they often finish the conversation by saying they want ‘Karamba-style success’,” according to the CEO.
M&A to fuel further growth
Aspire has recently agreed to acquire 100% of the shares in GMS Entertainment Limited, owner of the B2B group Pariplay, for approximately €13.1m in cash. Pariplay operates a game aggregator platform globally, including their own game studios, providing operators with access to thousands of game titles from leading game producers.
“Our M&A strategy will focus on B2B technology companies that can add volume and can further contribute to Aspire.”
“Pariplay will play a very important and strategic role in Aspire Global’s operations. Strategically, it will enable us to increase our presence across the value chain of the iGaming industry. As for the United States, Pariplay is already licensed to operate in New Jersey. It represents a major advantage over other games aggregators and studios and will act as a spearhead for potential moves Aspire Global might make in the US market in the future,” the CEO says.
When Aspire announced the planned acquisition, the firm tagged it as a “crucial” moment in gaining control of another section in the iGaming value chain. The transaction should be closed during Q3 2019, with a positive effect on the company’s EBITDA as of 2020. For 2019, however, the transaction is not expected to have any material effect on financial results. Nevertheless, Aspire sees the possibility of further mergers and acquisitions activities (M&A).
“Pariplay is the first of a number of acquisitions we have planned as a group. We have been very ambitious and thanks to our successful operations and performance we have cash in the bank that we plan to use. Our M&A strategy will focus on B2B technology companies that can add volume and can further contribute to Aspire. We want to control more steps within the iGaming value chain so that we have more control and can save costs in the process, while also growing revenues through operations outside of our platform,” according to Mr Maimon.
Despite some busy months behind, Aspire Global does not appear to take a rest, in fact, the company is eyeing further expansion. “Our vision is to enable our partners to achieve their full potential. There are many ways of doing this: launching more partners, enabling them to have a larger product offering in store with additional verticals that would allow them to launch into more markets. Our partners are part of our roadmap and future vision and will play a key role in both Aspire Global’s growth and their own,” Mr Maimon concludes.