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Maksym Liashko: Adopting a New Model for a Strong Ukrainian Future

26.10.22
7 min to read

The text version of the Parimatch Tech CEO Maksym Liashko interview for the SBC Summit Barcelona 2022 is below.

So, Maksym, Parimatch Tech, has many changes this year. In what direction is the company heading? You’re focusing a lot on tech development and R&D. What’s the big vision for Parimatch Tech? 

Before the war started, our focus was on our platform, betting products, casino products, CRM systems, etc. We built an ecosystem for us, for our internal users. And we made it, and I believe that we did it successfully, and we plan to grow inside our company to go to other markets with our brands, our software, and everything. And together with this, we have a big part of our business — franchise, in which we have partnered with our trademark, our software or different combinations: only software, or only trademark, etc. But after the following transformation, which we’re starting to do because of the war, we understood that it’s essential to monetize everything we have. And of course, the trademark is very expensive, we’ve spent many millions during the past 25 years on these trademarks, but together with this, we have pretty good software. So, our platform has many models, and it’s relatively new. 

Have you been able to test the product? 

Yes, of course. Our operations are performed on this new platform, and we’re entirely successful. And we’ve already had some time to test it with our franchise departments in different regions. And now, we’ve decided, together with our shareholders, to switch also to the B2B model. We’ll still have some B2C businesses, but together with this, we’ll try to achieve some results from the B2B perspective. And because of this, we start to build this B2B part of the business inside our company. We have a team involved in this and need to develop some new expertise. We didn’t have such expertise inside our company before because we didn’t have the B2B model as a business, only as a part of the franchise business. That’s why now we need to build, let’s say, a department of function service, which will cooperate with our B2B partners to decide what is necessary to do, draw up a list of questions and maybe some additional sort of features. 

That’s of interest, the B2B element, the B2B technology scene in gambling has been ruptured, there has been a lot of M&A, a lot of partnerships, joint ventures, so what do you think about that business landscape for B2B, where do you think the kind of your product will be distinct to everything else that’s in the market or that’s available to the customer now? 

Our product is perfect for big companies, which already operate with numerous customers, let’s say, or a considerable number of bets per second. 

So, do you think that you can scale-proof? 

Yes. And our main potential client is an operator who may have their platform or part of the platform and use some other parts of the platform from different providers, but they feel they need a more powerful software. I mean more powerful in the general understanding, that platform ready to operate with millions of bets per day, for example. 

Why is scale now so hard to achieve at an operational level for sportsbooks for e-gaming providers? 

Now, there is a fragile line between betting, classic betting, and casino games, so there are a lot of products which start to combine both betting and live betting and casino products and fast game and some fast predictions or play each second with different types of games, etc. So, there are plenty of clever guys who start to create something new. One way you can attract new customers and cooperate with them is by scaling with this. The second one is video streaming, and here you can find some new platform which also starts to create something unique that you can have on your platform and operate with this, so it’s also part of the entertainment segment.

Everything around entertainment can be inside our platform and all other platforms, and there’s something new that you can use to attract new customers, and scaling, scaling, scaling. 

And you’ve reorganized your leadership, but one thing that always grabs me about Parimatch is that throughout your executive team, there is a concentration on being a technology expert and owning the product. Can you talk about that? How did you build that mentality into Parimatch Tech? 

We decided to switch to the one CEO model because we need to be faster. And this is the main thing. But you also asked about the team, about our talents, and I can say that I’m completely happy with our team now, and it is what I described yesterday on the panel that I feel that everyone in our company is changing the values during the last several months, and not only in our company, in Ukraine in general. So, now we are changing our motivations, why we work so hard, on a global level, when we spoke to our employees in 2001 or even in January, before the war, there was the usual motivation: we want to achieve something, we would like to have a good salary, etc. But now everyone works because of the war in Ukraine, everyone in Ukraine and our company works because they wish to achieve something new, to be stable, let’s say, to help not only the company but also the country, it’s a combination, there are many things. 

This brings me to my final question. How has kind of your relationship changed with… you think about being a Ukrainian business, about being proud to be Ukrainian, but also about the future of Ukraine. Where do you see Parimatch Tech being there? 

Everyone in Ukraine, not only in our company, thinks about how to help the country, the government, and other people. And that’s why we are trying to combine a new model of cooperation between business and government where everyone tries to help each other with different stuff, thoroughly different stuff, not only in the tech industry but with everything. And that’s where we want to be in the future — in the same model because I believe that now the Ukrainian government is so open, and we can create a new model of cooperation. And together with this, the Ukrainian government tries to help to organize this international business for all Ukrainian companies. There’s a new model of collaboration which we want to have in our company. 

Do you see the importance of tech to Ukraine? 

Yes. 

You know, one of the things that got affected by the war is how many talented people Ukraine had, you know, designers, coders, engineers, and they fled their country. Why is it so important for you guys to be seen in Ukraine, to be seen going the extra mile within your country now at its point of conflict? 

The news can change your plans daily. So, now we’re in the daily mode when you feel that you need to change something, even the strategy inside the company, how you will cooperate with your partners, employees, etc. But with this, you’re right that there are many talents inside Ukraine, especially in the gaming and entertainment industries. Historically, it’s like this. And I feel that during these previous months, Ukrainians have also changed how they work, cooperate, or live. In such a situation, in the state of war, everyone is back to the working and defence processes and just trying to find this new balance of living with this. As we discussed inside the company, we used to try to find the work-life balance, and now we want to find a work, life and defence balance.

We are glad to see you here

SBC Summit Barcelona was remarkable! Check out more insights by Deputy CEO Anna Motruk, Chief Talent Officer Tetiana Davydova, and Chief Legal Officer Ievgeniia Derbal: Insights From Parimatch Tech Experts at SBC Summit Barcelona 2022.

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