A quick glance at CRM provider Symplify’s list of clients shows an interesting mix of businesses. Alongside well-known gaming operators like Mr Green and LeoVegas are businesses in a range of other fields: fintech giant Klarna, Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, recently IPO’d RevolutionRace and baby clothes retailer Babyshop.com.
That balance of different verticals has been in place for almost all of the business’ 20-year history.
“We are an established platform, and we’ve been in symbiosis with the igaming industry since day one,” Symplify chief executive Robert Kimber says. “As the igaming industry has matured, so has Symplify.
“We have been actively engaged in the industry for more than 15 years. In recent years, we have become more involved in the sense of attending trade shows and keeping our finger on the industry pulse. It is, as always, ever-evolving. As our gaming customers grow, so does our software.”
But having agreed a €30m acquisition of AI-focused solutions provider Jada Gaming, the business now appears ready to make a bigger statement in the igaming sector.
As Kimber explains though, igaming holds a very important position to a multi-industry marketing provider like Symplify. As an industry that needs to be relentless in user acquisition, marketing products that are good enough for igaming operators are going to be good enough for a host of other sectors.
“One of our greatest learnings while working with a demanding industry like igaming, is that there is no shortage of ideas out there,” he says. “What igaming CRM teams are looking for is a platform that can execute those ideas. We constantly receive feedback and push boundaries as to what is possible to achieve.
“Demand for a marketing platform has always been high because gaming companies always need to be pushing the envelope for what is possible. Today we’re in multiple verticals. Igaming is one of them, albeit a very important one; it’s a vertical that on occasion drives development of the product.”
An early acquisition
While Symplify has been around since the turn of the millennium, Jada is a much newer business, only announcing its launch last year.
As chief executive and co-founder Alberto Alfieri points out, due to Jada only being founded recently, an acquisition so soon in the company’s history wasn’t necessarily part of the initial plan.
“At this early stage in Jada’s history, naturally [co-founder] Josh [Tromans-Jones] and I weren’t expecting to have these conversations,” Alberto says. “Jada is a young, vibrant and disruptive company that is about to begin a very exciting journey. We launched our platform at the beginning of 2021, knowing that we wanted to build strategic partnerships with other platforms to strengthen our position and our offering. This however, wasn’t on our radar.”
The deal came about, Kimber says, thanks to some of the business’ shared gaming clients. These companies recognised that the two could work well together, which soon set the scene for the acquisition. Besides some bureaucratic hurdles to ensure the deal could be approved by Spanish authorities, the rest was smooth sailing.
“We are always on the lookout for acquisitions, it’s part of our strategy,” he says. “The interesting thing with Jada, is that we found each other through customers saying that we ought to talk with one another. So this wasn’t the usual acquisition chat we had, it was set up through our joint networks. From the first moment we sat down and talked it became obvious to me, and to everyone else in the room I believe, that their offering paired with ours would be an unbeatable setup.
“The Jada team is experienced and knowledgeable, and has a clear message. AI and predictive marketing is the way of the future for our industry and what we saw in the team is a clear sense of identity in what they are trying to achieve and that’s something that stood out. Josh, Alberto and their team are people that we want to work and grow with.”
A key reason why the Jada team was able to agree on a deal so soon, Alfieri says, was due to the fact that he and Tromans-Jones could continue to run the business in a similar manner as before the acquisition.
“I believe we met at the right moment in time, this opportunity brings a lot of potential for both parties,” Alberto says. “Josh and I will remain in our roles and capacities, the acquisition doesn’t change the setup of the company but with a powerhouse like Symplify to back us, we will be able to accelerate our growth plan.
“That’s one of the things we liked the most about Symplify. They saw this partnership from the perspective of a long-term project, which was very encouraging to us seeing as this is our baby and we weren’t ready to let go too soon. The fact that there was a plan, project and strategy behind it meant we could benefit greatly from their experience.”
More uses elsewhere?
That long-term plan, however, may differ from Jada’s original plan in one way. Given the high standards of marketing technology that the igaming industry demands, Kimber says, Jada’s technology might find a use with a number of other clients.
“I believe the powerful capabilities within the Jada platform can be applied outside of igaming, to other verticals,” Robert says. “One thing that igaming has given us is the demand for constant development and product expansion.
“By developing a product for the most demanding of industries, we can repackage it for other industries so that it caters to fintech, commerce, NGOs or any other industry that can make use of powerful propensity marketing.”
For Alfieri, meanwhile, the prospect of expansion into new markets was among the most exciting parts of the deal.
“One of our goals is to expand in terms of verticals and regions. We’re currently active in both South America and Europe but there are a lot of new markets and industries that we want to tackle. That is our top priority, together as an organisation. When you see the potential that Jada has, naturally our dream is to grow this outside of the igaming industry too. With Symplify, that dream can now become a reality.”