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Exclusive interview with Rahul Sood, CEO and co-founder of Unikrn

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Rahul-Sood-Ceo-and-co-founder-of-Unikrn Exclusive interview with Rahul Sood, CEO and co-founder of UnikrnReading Time: 6 minutes

 

Rahul Sood is the CEO and co-founder of Unikrn, the world’s leading esportsbook innovator. He started his first company, the world’s first boutique PC manufacturer, is his teens and later sold it to HP. After leaving HP, he joined Microsoft as the founder and CEO or the startup incubation branch then-called Microsoft Ventures. Rahul is a long-time avid gamer and esports fan who also enjoys windsurfing in his spare time.

 

You mentioned about two “game-changing” products from Unikrn in your email. Could you tell us more about the products?

Rahul Sood: We have 3 singular experiences launching at Unikrn: Unikrn UMode, Unikrn Virtual Game and Unikrn Esportsbook’s Streamer Betting.

Unikrn UMode is the first online skill betting extension for matchmaking games such as Fortnite, League of Legends, Dota 2, Halo and Counter-Strike. Unlike peer-to-peer betting, UMode lets players bet on their normal online matchmaking without betting opponents because Unikrn sets the odds, which lets you bet anytime in fair games without any worries about sharks ruining your fun.

The Unikrn Virtual Game is a curated collection of exciting professional esports matches from the past which are randomly selected and played fresh. There’s a new round every minute, and fans can go to bet on esports without ever facing delays or content gaps, which is an amazing quality-of-life improvement for esports fans used to waiting between rounds, games and tournaments.

Unikrn’s Streamer Betting uses in-house odds-determining trader bots and advanced screen-reading technology to interpret games happening on stream and set odds in real time, even updating odds as matches advance. We’re excited for how this will let fans play along with streamers and improve the community thrill of wins. After all, betting is better as a social experience, and very little in gaming is more social than streaming in its prime!

 

How do you think these products would change the way the betting industry operates?

Rahul Sood: The betting industry is still behind the curve on the way esports opens interactivity, data fidelity and sheer volume. There’s never been a challenge in sports akin to trying to place reliable odds on streamers. There’s YEARS of content hours consumed from Twitch every second across thousands of channels. Besides Unikrn, the world of betting operators hasn’t begun to scratch the surface of what gamers and esports fans are making possible, whether that’s creating 24/7 skill-based betting, new ways to package esports around the clock or ways to bring people together to cheer on their favorite players.

You are aiming to introduce innovative technologies to betting that would disrupt the dominance of traditional booking houses. In fact, quite a few new companies have aimed to do this, and almost all of them have failed. What is the x-factor for your company, if there is any?

Rahul Sood: Unikrn is x-factor from surface to core. I think the biggest difference is our culture, Unikrn sits at the intersection of esports & video games, blockchain & cryptocurrency, and regulated gambling. As such we employ talented people from all over the world. Our COO, CFO, and CPO along with lead product people are based in Sydney. Our CTO and development teams are in Berlin, Croatia, and Poland. Head of Marketing and Content are in New York, we have content people in Las Vegas, and I’m in Seattle with our Chief of Staff. There’s no way in hell we could build such a company in one city, we required the best talent in all 3 areas. Unikrn is also a technology first company, whereas typical wagering companies are simply licensing software from other platforms.

Maybe most importantly, this isn’t hypothetical: Unikrn is launching multiple singular experiences designed for customers. While others are building wagering experiences around old titles that no one cares about, Unikrn is building wagering experiences around games people love to play. Our products are live and regulator-approved well ahead of our runway, and they’re being followed by many other innovations.

 

It’s almost two years since you launched your cryptocurrency token UnikoinGold, based on the Ethereum blockchain. Could you tell us more about its performance so far?

Rahul Sood: UnikoinGold has been a fantastic success, achieving everything it was set out to do and hitting most of its projected benchmarks at or ahead of schedule. The whole point of developing UnikoinGold was to give users the ability to use our platform and partner platforms without the delays and fees associated with using traditional banks. At its launch, UnikoinGold closed the largest-ever token sale in esports and gaming, and our partners have included major players in the crypto space because they’re impressed with the unprecedented utility UnikoinGold has brought to the broader crypto ecosystem. I think our biggest challenge is making our crypto more accessible and easier to use. We’re working hard on this, it’s one of the key pillars for 2019.

 

Unikrn is into its fifth year. The company has received excellent funding and financial back-up. But has the company really captured the public imagination as an esports venture? How do you look back at the last five years of Unikrn?

Rahul Sood: Unikrn is fortunate to have had several extremely successful acquisitions, partnerships and blockchain ventures — the truth is there’s a staggering and publicly invisible business-to-business problem solving portion of our operations. This is common in successful companies in the tech sector: Amazon, for example, makes more of its money on web services than any other division, but it’s a part of the company the public basically never sees.

Everybody at this company is proud of our success and our current place in the ecosystem, as well as optimistic about the future all the way to the horizon.

Being a legal and responsible operator requires diligence and time (working with regulators, governments, patent offices, partners and taking the time to develop proprietary technology can’t be rushed!). Our current user base has been completely won-over, and the next step is broader engagement with new fans.

So are we where we want to be? Of course not, we’ll never truly be satisfied, but believe me Unikrn of 2019 is far ahead of the Unikrn from 2014. We have plenty of work to do and lots of runway to get to where we’re going.

 

The USA is witnessing a revolution of sorts in the sports betting sector, following the US Supreme Court’s verdict on PASPA Act. What is your take on the future of sports betting in the USA and the role of Unikrn on it?

Rahul Sood: Unikrn is already live with Unikrn UMode in the majority of the United States, making us pretty much first in the door, and we are obviously supportive of states allowing responsible, regulated wagering to expand. Unikrn has well-established connections with land based casinos in Las Vegas, where our primary content team is based, and we expect the United States to be a growing market for us looking forward. I fully expect us to launch our sportsbook across the USA in partnership with some of the largest casino operators in the world.

 

You had held top positions at HP and Microsoft before founding Unikrn. How different are the mainstream software companies and the gaming and betting companies in terms of challenges, job profile and working environment?

Rahul Sood: Every job is different, but wagering companies bring with them an enormous responsibility to work in partnership with regulators and governments. This happens in any industry, but wagering rightfully brings it to another level. That said, there’s also a tremendous amount of crossover: software and gaming hardware companies are ultimately selling consumers an experience, and that’s exactly what Unikrn does.

We’re sitting at the intersection of three of the most blockbuster industries on earth, regulated gambling, esports & video games, and blockchain & cryptocurrency. It’s never easy, but nothing good comes without hard work.

You have been a serial entrepreneur, having started entrepreneurship from an unusually young age. You have also worked with a number of startups while you were a General Manager at Microsoft Ventures. What is the one thing that separates successful startups from the failures? And what is your advice to startup founders and wannabe founders?

Rahul Sood: Great startups understand that a brand is nothing without 4 key components. An incredible product that people love, a strong team culture made of the smartest and most talented people who eat breath and sleep your mission, a thriving community of fans and evangelists, and most of all strong leadership and patience. All of these components become the foundation of your brand, which if applied correctly becomes a living breathing entity. Most people miss the community part, can you imagine Telsa, OnePlus, or Apple without a community? They’d be like nowhere!

 

Finally, on a lighter note, it is written on your Wikipedia page that “Sood first took an interest in computers at the age of 11, having disassembled and painted his first computer—an Apple IIc—before even turning it on”. Did it really happen? And did you disassemble your first gaming device as well!? Do share an interesting anecdote to conclude the interview.

Rahul Sood: It absolutely happened, and I had successfully founded my boutique computer manufacturer, VoodooPC, just a few years later. I went on to sell that brand to HP. I guess everything that I’ve ever involved myself with is something I truly care about, for without that I don’t think I’d be anywhere near where I am today.


Source: Latest News on European Gaming Media Network
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Exclusive interview with Rahul Sood, CEO and co-founder of Unikrn

George Miller (Gyorgy Molnar) started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.

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Rise in Staffing Costs Results in Full-year Revenue Loss for Genius Sports

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9-10 Rise in Staffing Costs Results in Full-year Revenue Loss for Genius SportsReading Time: 1 minute

 

Genius Sports Group has posted a loss of £7.6m for the year 2018 despite a 23.9% yearly rise in revenue for the 12-month period.

Revenue for the year ended December 31, 2018, amounted to £65.8m, up from £53.1m in the year 2018. Genius Sports experienced momentous growth in its rest of world business, with revenue up from £200m to £31.3m. UK revenue also climbed from £6.1m to £7.3m, while rest of Europe revenue increased a little from £26.9m to £27.2m.

Though, GS also noted a growth in expenses for the year, with the cost of sales rising 52.4% from £18.4m to £28.0m and administrative expenses up from £23.3m to £29.5m. Hiring more staff costs particularly hit Genius, with this jumping from £22.3m to £29.7m as the business increased its employee numbering from 669 to 901 in the year.

The increased costs drove Genius from an operating profit of £5.9m in 2017 to an operating loss of £4.2m for the full year. Evaluating the results, Regulus Partners said that Genius’s historical pattern of growing revenue at the expense of profitability also need to be changed in order to deliver viable potential.

Market Analyst at Regulus also emphasised Genius’s acquisition of English and Scottish football official betting data from what is now Stats Perform, saying that this is “transformational to Genius and potentially transformational to the betting as well as sports rights sectors.”


Source: Latest News on European Gaming Media Network
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Rise in Staffing Costs Results in Full-year Revenue Loss for Genius Sports

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Svenska Spel Launches Verisec’s Freja eID Technology

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8-9 Svenska Spel Launches Verisec’s Freja eID TechnologyReading Time: 1 minute

 

Svenska Spel has launched Verisec’s Freja eID to enhance its customer identification process.

The new gambling legislation that came into force on 1 January this year requires gaming companies to use an e-ID for registration of their customers. This is to increase safety and to ensure players’ age and identity. Until now, the customers of Svenska Spel have been referred to a single e-ID but with the introduction of Freja eID is given both greater choice and independence, by not being locked to a specific login method.

“Most companies that digitize their services put considerable resources on good user experience and to eliminate eventual friction for users who want to access the digital service. Thus, not keeping users locked to a specific sign-in solution is an important step. We believe that this is not only positive for the users, we also believe it is a strong competitive factor in that Svenska Spel is the first gaming company with a gaming license that offers its users more than one e-ID,” Johan Henrikson, CEO of Verisec said.


Source: Latest News on European Gaming Media Network
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Svenska Spel Launches Verisec’s Freja eID Technology

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Trustly Launches its New Product Trustly Live

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7-10 Trustly Launches its New Product Trustly LiveReading Time: 1 minute

 

Online banking payments provider Trustly has launched Trustly Live, the product built specifically for land-based gaming. With the introduction of Trustly Live, Trustly is helping to remove the need for cash at land-based casinos and sportsbooks.

With Trustly Live, players can scan a Trustly QR code with their smartphone and instantly deposit funds from their online bank account. This helps operators to lower cash handling costs while also catering to the preferences of their players. Additionally, Trustly Live can strengthen KYC and AML checks, ultimately helping to enhance the trackability of players and meet increasingly strict regulatory requirements. Trustly Live is currently live with Cherry Spelglädje in 45 locations in Sweden and plans to expand across Europe in the coming months.

“The launch of Trustly Live will help land-based operators thrive in today’s increasingly cashless economies. Cash handling is expensive, unsafe and, frankly, outdated. Consumers are already adopting safer and more convenient ways to pay and Trustly is excited to be bringing innovation to the land-based gaming world by helping operators keep pace with their players’ preferences,” Samuel Barrett, Director of Gaming at Trustly said.


Source: Latest News on European Gaming Media Network
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Trustly Launches its New Product Trustly Live

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