19 July 2021
Having entered a creative new phase with a dual CEO structure, the leading global betting company Parimatch is on the right track to pursue further technological and professional development in the sports betting industry. Recently appointed joint-CEOs Maksym Liashko and Roman Syrotian talk to GOLD about their shared vision and reveal how the company is giving back to society through the Parimatch Foundation.
By Artemis Constantinidou
You have both been very recently appointed Joint CEOs of Parimatch. What does this change at the top mean? Why two people? And what is your shared vision for the company?
Maksym Liashko: The changes in the company demonstrate its maturity and readiness for further technological and professional development. The Supervisory Board will pursue strategic goals while we focus our energies on operational excellence. From our understanding, this is the most successful structure for a company that seeks to become global. A dual CEO structure is a logical move, which consolidates the direction of the company’s growth and represents the combination and synergy of our expertise. I handle finance, legal, communication and administrative operating activities, while Roman is in charge of IT product and marketing operating activities. Our combined knowledge and experience gives us the opportunity to look at the development of the company in a comprehensive manner and to complement each other. To lead and multiply the achievements of such a complex and large mechanism as Parimatch is a real challenge, so we are both lucky to be sharing this exciting journey with a reliable and strong partner.
What are the biggest opportunities and challenges that the online betting industry is currently facing?
M.L.: The three biggest challenges are the regulatory changes in each different market, consumer behaviour and cybersecurity. This, in particular, is driving the massive digitalization of the betting industry and brands continue to focus on technological transformation and market research. In the near future, the trend of gamification in the product, the use of AI and big data will continue. Operators must ensure the confidentiality of customer data, the continuity of transactions, and protection from fraudsters.
In your opinion, what is it that the millennial generation wants from eSports? In what ways do you try to remain relevant?
Roman Syrotian: Millennials are a passionate and tech-heavy generation. And eSports is precisely the product of the synergy between gaming and technology.
To keep their attention, you need a set of actions: the continuous improvement of your product, a convenient technological solution, interaction through ambassadors and communication on social networks. Apart from mobile optimization, social media outreach, personalisation and a multi-platform presence, millennials tend to value authenticity. Players choose idols and brands that match their values and spirit. Therefore, we carefully select partners for marketing collaborations. This year, we will see more bookmakers investing in the creation of their own events and tournaments, which will appeal to fans, regardless of their team affiliation.
Parimatch is the official sponsor of various sports teams worldwide. What are the company’s main partnerships and what is their significance?
R.S.: In 2020, Parimatch sealed partnerships with Leicester City, Juventus and Everton football clubs. It is also the global betting partner of the popular eSports team Fnatic, the title partner of Virtus.pro, Team Spirit, and the exclusive betting partner of UFC in the CIS region. The global reach of these teams allows Parimatch to showcase its brand and products to millions of sports fans across the world. We undertake many evaluations and predictions before we start any partnership negotiations, most of them in order to have a clear understanding of what we’re going to get and of the possible Return on Investment. It is also important to ensure that, in a partnership, the two brands complement each other and carry similar messages. I can confidently say that our current partnerships are an indicator of the synergy between fighting spirit and leadership.
Parimatch has also been very active in promoting the well-being of the community through education and engaging children in sport through the Parimatch Foundation. Which of your philanthropic endeavours are your most proud of?
M.L.: Giving back to society has been a part of Parimatch’s DNA since the business was founded 25 years ago. However, it wasn’t until 2018, thanks to Katerina Biloruska, Founder of Parimatch and Chairwoman of the Parimatch Foundation, that the company’s CSR initiatives were formalised with the launch of Parimatch Foundation, and we haven’t looked back since. Today, the Parimatch Foundation is an independent organisation that realizes its mission to promote the health and well-being of the community through education and engaging children in sport while providing equal opportunities for everyone. This is an ambitious and long-term goal that requires a comprehensive and balanced solution. Katerina and her team invest a lot of energy, money and time in each project and it is difficult to single out one.
For example, the “Yes, I can!” programme aims to encourage children with disabilities to play sports and create all the necessary conditions for sports to be equally accessible to all through their involvement in physical activities and socialization. The project proved its importance last year and, in 2021, we plan to open inclusive sports groups and involve at least 300 children with disabilities.
As non-Cypriots who have decided to live here, what is it that you enjoy the most? What do you think should be improved if the country wishes to become even more attractive to foreign companies thinking about setting up their offices in Cyprus?
M.L.: This is a broad question and perhaps a topic for a separate conversation! The Government needs to simplify procedures and speed up the issuance of documents for doing business. Of course, it is worth paying attention to how resettled families adapt and automatic work permits for spouses would greatly facilitate the process. This will surely attract international companies and investments.
What are your main growth plans and strategy for the future?
M.L.: Our three main goals are to continue our technological transformation and product improvement, our global expansion into new markets and our IPO.
Once COVID-19 has receded, how do you expect the global business scene and the concept of digital transformation to develop over the next decade?
R.S.: The pandemic helped to accelerate digital transformation and created a landscape that will continue to encourage innovation and technological adoption moving forward. The world has seen that technology is not an auxiliary but a driving force. Against this background, the demand for data protection and fraud prevention will also increase. In addition, we will see an increase in investments and mergers of large companies. The next decade is the time for corporations.