Bernard Marantelli – Colossus Bets – Building a Crowd Pleaser with Colossus Syndicates

Bernard Marantelli, Colossus Bets

Bringing new player engagement dynamics to its football pools product, Colossus Bets has announced the launch of its ‘Colossus Syndicates’ feature which will enable users to propose crowdfunded tickets which will compete for Colossus jackpots.

Colossus Bets Founder & CEO Bernard Marantelli speaks to SBC on the challenges of developing an effective crowdfunded game for the sports betting market and how his firm’s development teams continue to test industry standards and norms…

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SBC: Hi Bernard, thanks for catching up…Can you detail to SBC how ‘Colossus Syndicates’ was created? Where did you get the idea for this unique new product?

Bernard Marantelli : I guess this has been a decade in development, as I have seen and been part of gambling syndicates, both ‘professional’ and ‘social’ for decades. I’ve witnessed all the pitfalls and challenges: counterparty risk; trying to broker an agreement on who makes the picks and what those picks should be; staying in touch with an office syndicate member who moves job; ‘managers’ being slow to pay out on winning tickets etc.

Colossus Syndicates solves all these issues and enables the true crowdfunding of bets into our pools across our global network of B2B partners and their players.

SBC: Where does Colossus Syndicates’ sit within your firm’s current product portfolio?

BM: We don’t see this as a different product within our portfolio. Syndicates are just another entry point into our pools. We consider our portfolio to be a single product: ‘The world’s biggest most engaging sports pools – win lotto-sized prizes on the sports you love’.

Although we are football-led, Syndicates works well across our multi-sports pools. When the UK Tote’s exclusive licence to offer horseracing pools on British racing expires in the summer of 2018, we think Colossus Syndicates will help reinvigorate betting on multi-leg horseracing pool bets, and we are working towards that date.

SBC: Crowdfunding plays an important part in Colossus Syndicates, how has your team built an engaging game using this social dynamic?

BM: Our pools are available in 30+ currencies and Syndicates must enable players to join forces across currencies on a single ticket, through a fully localised front end. It is a technically complex product in the backend, and our development team has done an outstanding job. The quality of our in-house development team is the main reason we are increasingly being asked to build technology solutions (and not just provide access to our pools) by a series of third party operators.

With the back end system in place, our focus now is to make the front end experience for the player as clean as possible while embedding the social features necessary to maximise engagement.

SBC: The industry has seen some community/pooled features fail for sports betting? Why do you think that this has been a reality for stakeholders?

BM: In some cases the people behind what were nice social betting ideas may have run out of funding before getting traction – perhaps they may have had success if they had not run out of time/funds. However, most forms of betting, for example, win singles or in-play betting are not designed for crowdbetting and bolting on a ‘follow my bet’ or similar feature, as many have tried, does not change that reality and does not socialise or improve the betting experience.

Like a lottery syndicate, people are generally happy to say (and to ‘share’): “I’ve joined a syndicate, and we are shooting for £1 million on the weekend’s football”; whereas not everyone is happy to say: “I’ve copied the bet of an expert, and I’m having a £50 double on Chelsea and Arsenal to win this weekend.”

If you were to design the ideal bet type to work in a crowd context, it would be a multi-leg pool bet shooting for a big jackpot prize, with cash-out decisions throughout. Perhaps we are fortunate in this respect, but our core product works for syndicates in a way that other forms of betting do not.

SBC: At present what is your plan of action relating to the Syndicates product launch for Colossus clients? (how do you plan to push this product to market?)

BM: The current version of Syndicates is the ‘minimum viable product’ which we wanted to get live, learn from and quickly adapt. That is why we limited the rollout to our B2C (colossusbets.com) site only. In about four weeks we will release an enhanced version with added functionality/usability improvements and a few weeks after that we will put Colossus Syndicates live across our B2B partner sites.

We pioneered cash-out, but that was a product which works well across all forms of betting. I think Syndicates will have as big an impact as cash-out but will not be so easy to replicate because as described above it works uniquely well with a multi-leg pool bet.

SBC: Any final thoughts you want to put forward to potential clients of Colossus Syndicates?

BM: For players of our Syndicates I would say please keep the feedback coming. We’ve had some great suggestions from players, many of which we are now working to include.

For potential B2B partners I would say our tech roadmap for 2017 is almost full but get in touch if you want access to potentially the first betting feature which uses social features to improve your players’ betting experience.

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Bernard Marantelli – CEO & Founder  – Colossus Bets

Sports betting product development, technology and leadership will be discussed and debated at the upcoming Betting of Football Conference  (3-5 May – London). Click on the below banner to see the full conference agenda…  

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