After ThrillTech's announcement in June, which was covered by various news publications, Gaming Eminence had the pleasure of conducting an exclusive sit-down interview with Benjamin Bradtke, Co-Founder. The purpose of this interview was to delve deeper into ThrillTech's innovative solution and gain insights into Benjamin's personal career journey. This article explores the technical knowledge that ThrillTech has acquired so far and examines its potential impact on the company's future. Additionally, we discuss the concept of jackpot freebets and their role in enhancing CRM efforts within the gambling industry. Benjamin also sheds light on the implications of hybrid tipping points and the contributing factors to their hybrid nature. Lastly, we provide an overview of ThrillTech's back-end technology, including its development thought process and technical infrastructure.
GE) Benjamin, talk me through your decision for this new venture at this particular time. What specific factors did you observe in the industry that convinced you of the need for ThrillTech's solution? Furthermore, I'm interested in hearing about your career journey and can you outline lessons you've learned along the way that have shaped and prepared you for launching this new company.
BB) Since my first day in iGaming, I have always been with young and ambitious ventures in extremely fast-paced environments that tried to thrive or survive. This continuous exposure to the challenges of success in the industry shaped my approach towards building ThrillTech. I had to wear many hats every day from CRM to Casino to Product, coordinate Tech teams - things I often had to grow into. This way, you observe and learn a lot about the problems that stakeholders in the ecosystem face. While making your own mistakes is invaluable, observing others' mistakes also contributes to personal growth in its own way. Learning from people that manage the day-to-day of companies is where the true learnings for innovation happen.
I have noticed multiple product & tech shortcomings in the industry that I wanted to address. I can't count how often I've experienced software failures due to a high number of users during peak times. You often see a clear minimum viable product approach in the industry: 'Just get that product live, it will make money.' However, as operations scale, the shortcuts made in architecture can backfire, resulting in tech debt and scalability issues.
We scoped our system architecture in a way that it can scale and handle the biggest loads from day one. When you utilize the latest technologies and frameworks, you already gain an advantage as technology continuously advances. If you build a solid foundation, your roof will never fall.
The reason we started with jackpots is pretty simple - when I tried casinos and operators, the only products that ever gave me an edge of interest were either high volatility or progressive jackpot games. When looking at the industry and the product offerings, I was just not happy with what I came across and felt products were developed without fully considering the challenges respective industry stakeholders face.
I will give you an example.
When I was running an operator hosted in Location A and integrated game providers which were hosting their games on the other side of the globe, we always faced performance drops towards the wallet. This is a clear learning we factored into the development of our first product, the jackpot server. I think you need to challenge yourself daily and revisit your choices of yesterday. This is what happens in startups.
Everything we do is part of a wider product strategy to provide infrastructure for an industry that is reaching the age of consolidation where product scalability and reliability are going to become more and more crucial to operators and game studios alike.
GE) In early June we saw the press releases about the launch across the news publications. What were the most valuable technical insights acquired throughout the nine month journey of designing and implementing the scalable architecture at ThrillTech? And how do you plan on leveraging these insights to propel future projects or improvements within your company?
BB) The most important lesson and insight I learned a long time ago was to find a way to work with the brightest and sharpest product and technical minds possible. The team that has supported the build-out of ThrillTech's architecture and technology has come together with a shared vision to create solutions that are not only incredibly powerful but also cost-efficient at scale. In terms of insights gained over the last 9 months, the most valuable ones were learned through conversations with our partners, where we truly understand their pain points (commercial, technical, or product-related). An example would be that we built our commercial model not on an industry-standard pure GGR share but on a consumption model.
From a technical point of view, we built our tech from day one in a way that clients only have to integrate once with us and will be able to access the whole product suite - current and future products. Having experienced long integration cycles on the B2C side, we knew we had to provide a unified integration layer that would require a one-time integration effort for our clients. This is a massive pain point in iGaming. We iterate quickly and gather feedback to ensure that what we deliver not only meets but exceeds our clients' needs. We have designed a roadmap that makes sense not only for us but also for our partners. This allows us to engage in meaningful and important conversations on how to maximise the revenue potential that our clients have when deploying our products.
When you talk with operators around the globe, you understand that data security and privacy are significant concerns. It is this understanding that led us to design and develop our unique 'self-hosted' proposition. With self-hosted capabilities, operators can quickly and safely deploy products directly within their own data centers or cloud environments while remaining in control of their sensitive player data. Additionally, they automatically gain significantly reduced latencies between our products and their platform, as well as reduced operating costs.
GE) Jackpot Freebets have garnered attention for their potential to bolster Customer Relationship Management (CRM) teams. Could you provide an in-depth exploration of what jackpot freebets entail and how they can effectively support CRM efforts in the gambling industry?
BB) As part of our solution, we developed jackpot freebets, that is correct. Something that doesn’t exist as of yet. So what is a jackpot freebet? It is basically the operator paying for the next x jackpot contributions on the player’s behalf. They are integrated into our product to serve two use cases for operators: to provide a new tool for CRM teams to incentivise player retention and to enhance the opt-in rates of players for the configured jackpots on-site. Why is this useful? Operators have to be extremely diligent on how they allocate their retention budgets. Often, they reach the limit of what is possible with their current tools
Jackpot Freebets are a cost-effective bonus to use and provide CRM teams with a new tool they haven't had before. I would have loved to have this tool while I was on the B2C side of things and I believe operators will really enjoy working with it.
GE) Hybrid tipping points have become a significant subject of discussion in various domains. Can you offer a comprehensive analysis of what these tipping points refer to, their implications, and the factors that contribute to their hybrid nature?
BB) It may sound more complex than it actually is. Mystery Jackpots can be triggered (or tipped) in three classic ways. The standard differentiations are based on hit-rate (chance via the random number generator), value (by reaching a certain value), or time (e.g., a specific point in time or during a time window). Now, imagine a scenario where you can freely combine these tipping points, allowing for any combination. Let's consider an example: it's Christmas, and you want to create a four-tiered Christmas Jackpot that can be won at any time but no later than Christmas Eve. The limits are only bound by your imagination. You could establish a progressive site-wide jackpot (hit-rate) that must reach a maximum value (to prevent it from growing excessively and make players feel like they have a genuine chance of winning).
GE) Could you give an overview of the development thought process and technical infrastructure of ThrillTechs back-end technology that is leveraged in using happy hour jackpot initiatives to drive traffic during off-peak hours?
BB) I’d like to add some context before I tackle the specific question. ThrillTech has adopted a product-driven development approach that guides and informs how the technical infrastructure and solutions are architected. While many organisations claim to follow this approach to some extent, we believe it is crucial to first understand the problem domain, define one or more possible solutions, and then explore how those potential solutions could be implemented technically. We firmly believe that delivering a great product requires a cohesive partnership between the product and technology teams. It starts with having team members who understand both the product and technology domains very well.
Now, turning to the topic of happy hour jackpots or our Jackpot free-bets, let me provide some context. Before any development took place, we had a clearly defined product definition along with data and user flows. Our team recognised the need to allow operators to have fine-grained control over every aspect of their offering and the ability to design incentives to attract and retain their player base. While the backend technology is important, we consider it secondary. After all, backend systems run 24/7 and have a known operating cost. What truly matters to us is how we can maximise revenue and performance opportunities for our partners by delivering products such as happy hour jackpots or Jackpot free-bets.
About our Contributor:
Benjamin Bradtke is a highly accomplished entrepreneur and executive in the iGaming and esports industries. As the Co-Founder of ThrillTech, he brings a wealth of experience in product development, marketing, and business strategy. With a successful track record in building ventures from concept to go-live, Benjamin has played key roles in multiple companies, overseeing 360° casino development, driving product innovation, managing teams, and ensuring regulatory compliance. His expertise spans globally distributed teams, technical collaborations, and strategic partnerships. With a strong focus on integrity and innovation, Benjamin's leadership and vision have propelled him to the forefront of the industry. Visit https://thrilltech.io/