FSB: how to solve the first-mover legacy tech conundrum

Becoming a first-mover in the US can have its advantages when it comes to gaining a competitive edge in securing market share. However, this may mean that companies adopt legacy technologies which ultimately cause headaches a few years down the road.

In a conversation with SBC Leaders, FSB’s Bob Akeret, VP of Operations, and Mike Van Ermen, VP of Business Development, began by explaining that their experience working with major US operators has helped them identify the snags that fresh incumbents may face when choosing a new sports betting platform. 

Van Ermen began: “So both Bob and I started talking to FSB in around Q4 2020. At that point in time, they really hadn’t established their foothold in the United States yet. They were really looking for some industry experience to go ahead and lead that US business. Bob and I both received some phone calls, went through a lengthy interview process – this didn’t just involve us interviewing us, but us interviewing them! We really just wanted to make sure that we were aligned with FSB’s vision. 

“With both of us being on the operator side of things, it was very important to us to have a deep understanding of what FSB wanted to achieve. It was a big move for us to jump on to the other side of the counter. 

“We wanted to be a part of a company that shared our vision, and that really leveraged our expertise and our passion for quality and operator-based software in the United States. So we both joined in late 2020 and we’ve been really helping shape the United States strategy ever since.”

Echoing a similar sentiment, Akeret explained that for many operators and suppliers, it was a ‘rush to market’. Ultimately, this led to companies deploying technologies which have later caused frustrations. 

Akeret added: “With Dave McDowell and Sam Lawrence’s vision, they could have entered the US market in 2018 as plenty of other people did. As we all know, it was definitely a case of speed to market. But now, we’re seeing a lot of frustrations from sportsbooks. 

“So there is a huge opportunity for the switcher market – those operators who are frustrated with their existing technology, many of whom have been promised the world which has been under-delivered really.

“Both Mike and I have that previous platform experience. We know where platforms have excelled and what hasn’t. David and Sam really gave us a blank piece of paper, if you will, to enter the US and give our expertise. We have been able to say how the platform needs to run, because this is what the end user – namely the sportsbook or casino – is going to experience.”

As FSB expands its presence within the North American market, one key mission that the company has is to offer more of a ‘bespoke’ product which helps sportsbooks to ‘future proof’ their business as more states open up. This experience on the operator side of things, Akeret noted, has helped to do this.

When discussing the ways in which FSB is best supporting US-based sportsbooks, Akeret said: “Something that our Head of Marketing, Chris Graham, says is that FSB is ‘curating the win’. We’re not taking a product off the shelf, we don’t have an infomercial and it’s not a 1800 number that you can call for some hodgepodge, standard technology. We’re sitting on the other side of the table, we’ve been in the operator’s shoes and we fully understand what can be frustrating you. 

“If you’re new to the market, we can tell you about the things that you should be looking out for. Take our expertise and our experience, and let that speak for itself. I think that’s something that is setting FSB apart from some of the others out there.”

Van Ermen added: “If you look at the sports betting industry from 2018 to now, we’re coming up on the four year anniversary of the first state going live. The industry looks completely different, right? So in the summer of 2026, the industry will also look completely different than what it does now. None of us can exactly tell you what that difference is going to be. 

“The key component with FSB is that you will be future proofing yourself; you’re preventing yourself from having to go through a migration in a few years time. You have the opportunity to grow and carry FSB with you wherever you end up.”

Watch the full interview HERE

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