From a workforce of 170 today to some 300 by mid 2016, Johan Styren is at the helm of what’s arguably the fastest growing operator in Malta. In an interview with SiGMA the charismatic CEO discusses the success behind LeoVegas and its exciting plans for the future.
The LeoVegas brand has grown massively since its inception in 2012; which factors do you attribute to your successover the years?
First of all we have an amazing product. Having a mobile casino in itself is not unique, however the way we have been able to innovate and stay ahead of the competition is. We have kept our focus in product as well as marketing and that has kept us in the lead. On top ofthat we have constantly been able to find the most talented and hard working people, I can’t stress enough what a difference that has made.
LeoVegas has always been at the forefront on mobile gaming; where do you see mobile gaming heading in the next few years?
First of all it will keep on growing, people are still moving from offline to desktop and from desktop to mobile. That transition is far from over. I’m expecting new devices to play a bigger part of the mix including the new I-pad pro and the new version of the I-watch. We always look at new tech releases and especially apple for new inspiration and opportunities.
LeoVegas has been involved in some of the biggest ever mobile jackpot wins last year; can you tell us a bit more about them?
2015 started off in the best possible way with LeoVegas handing out the biggest mobile win in history, which was a Mega Fortune Jackpot of 5,6 million Euro. While that record stills stands some amazing jackpot wins has fallen out including 4,6 million Euro on Mega Fortune Dreams in July.
Few things can compare to hearing the stories of the lucky winners, what they where thinking when they won and how they will spend the money. The long awaited trip abroad is popular but also a lot of winners want to share money with friends and family. One of our absolutely biggest winners wanted to thank us for changing his life and decided to buy all of Leovegas, at that time around 120 people, a dinner at a nice restaurant. I just found that gesture absolutely heart warming. All in all we are extremely pleased with these wins and we can proudly say that there is nowhere better to play jackpot games than LeoVegas.
You were recently granted your UK licence and are investing heavily there, can you tell us why you chose the UK market over others?
I think its fair to say that the UK license regime is probably the most successful we have seen in Europe so far. That plus the cheer size of the market made it a very attractive place to invest in. What scared a lot of other companies of is naturally the significant competition. We did however feel that we had something unique to offer and a positioning that was not claimed in the market. Looking back at the success we have had I’m more than pleased with that decision.
You also partnered with primetime UK TV show Celebrity Juice. Can you tell us a bit more about how that came about and what you have planned there?
The reasoning is simply that its a primetime channel and show which is very much followed by the UK nation. Its also shares the same demographic which makes it a perfect fit. The sponsorship begins when the hit show returns to screens in September and covers all episodes, including the Christmas Special. The deal will also see LeoVegas branding appear online and on mobile, including the show’s website and catch-up content on ITV Player and ITV.com. The creative, entitled ‘Dress Like a Lion’, has been produced by NOW Advertising and focuses on LeoVegas’ lion mascot, Leo, as he tries on an array of flamboyant outfits, like those worn by the show’s host, Keith Lemon.
With such a crowded market in the UK, do you have any aces up your sleeve to make you stand out from your competitors?
Its all about the product and that’s where we differ from all other brands. As usual we have an array of activities going on in the UK as we continue to grow stronger in presence. The next quarter will see LeoVegas expand rapidly with both above and below the line activities to keep us top of mind.
Malta has been a great environment for us to grow, we really wanted to go the extra mile when it comes to office environment to create the Google kind of atmosphere. In the end we found anamazing office in Sliema that has it all, terraces with amazing view, space for table tennis, videogames and you name it. The combination of Mediterranean weather and a fast pace working environment has created a great environment for us to attract talent.
What do you think the future holds for LeoVegas?
Our ambition is to keep on growing and even accelerate what we do. It’s a huge challenge and we need to constantly reinvent ourselves to keep ahead of the competition. I think its fair to say that wehave gone from start-up to the respected leader in mobile casino in a very short time and this is just the beginning.
We look forward to meet LeoVegas and their wonderful management in various conferences worldwide including, of course, SiGMA16! Until then, enjoy this short flashback from SiGMA15.