PlayVegas88 is a gaming technology company that provides plug and play gaming experience to their customers. Founder Mr. Trushit Buch says, “Gaming industry had seen lot of digital innovation in last few years, Covid meant rapid growth for the online gaming sector leading to more employment and growth. It also meant there was a clear opportunity to provide Gaming as a service (Gaas) with rapid go to market and pricing flexibility with subscription-based pricing models for gaming operators.”
PlayVegas88 is one of the fastest growing iGaming company in the Southeast Asia market having 650,000+ active users every month. Offerings includes Asia Poker, Lotto and Live games. Technology, user experience and data analysis are key aspects to build a sustainable long term business value for casino owners and online gaming operators.
Digital wallet gives flexibility for players to play multiple games at the same time, enabling additional revenue opportunity for gaming operators. Vast inroads of mobile devices and culture of competitive gaming is driving growth in Asia, which makes it the fastest growing market for online gaming.
In conversation with Founder, Play Vegas 88, Mr. Trushit Buch shares his entrepreneurial journey in making this venture leading in the Southeast Asia market. Read on.
- Every startup has a story. What’s the story of Play Vegas 88? (How the idea germinated, started in the year, profit margins, funded/bootstrapped, growth, etc)
I lived in SEA for 6 years. Being an avid gamer, I mingled right in with the gaming community as it's a prevalent leisure time activity in SEA. That gave an understanding of the culture, habits, and other nuances which are key ingredients of building a customer experience. This gambling tech industry is growing 20% YOY.
There are many EU/US-centric games people play, though the preference is always on to a localized game that caters to local sensibilities. For instance, popular card games such as Poker have a version that is for that market. Another big challenge is local skilled developers as well as not understanding the key ingredient for game success which is customer support and delight.
Coming from an IT service space, building software products, as well as managed services for enterprise customers, helped us chart out a strategy to build games that cater to local markets in SEA as well as provide managed services. We thought of building a SaaS model which allows gaming operators to sign up and start the service right away, substantially reducing time to market as well as providing 24 x 7 x 365 multilingual support to enable them to succeed.
PlayVegas88 started with a vision and a bunch of freelancers in 2018 to a full-fledged team of 15 developers in India + 3 Client partners in Thailand and 10 resources in Indonesia to provide first-hand support to end customers. We are generating $1.1mn subscription revenue a year ( Around INR 7.5 Crores) and a healthy profit margin of 37%, In 2019-20 we were $250k, as on today in 21-22 we are at $1.5Mn ARR( Around INR 10Crores). We had our share of ups and downs though we sailed through and are 100% bootstrapped.
- What unseen opportunities did you see in the online gaming industry?
Gaming as a service (platform approach) has a clear upside and scale for gaming operators, it takes away lengthy development cycles, no need for tech and support team so substantial dip in both capital as well as operating expense, and finally a big advantage of having an easy to opt-in and opt-out. Quick time to market, no worry in building and supporting technology and ease of use.
- Key strengths offered to the enterprises (Gaming businesses)
Localized games for poker, lotto, and live games, offered in a SaaS environment. The most important service is end-to-end management with support across all levels, and also provides marketing services and resources to manage customer acquisition and retention.
- Challenges from the time you started till now
Being a bootstrapped business, always a battle to manage liquidity, there were instances where we were dry, though we pushed hard and got customers in, our team is our asset. Everything that we have been able to achieve is only due to the commitment, faith, and hard work of our folks.
- How did the pandemic prove to be for the business?
There was a lot of transformation happening in the Gaming sector, more businesses were going online, and Pandemic expedited that growth, for us due to the simplicity and scalability of our ready-to-deploy gaming solutions proved to be a boon for operators.
- What are your views on customer experience?
Customer experience is what drives everything; I think the cultural nuances play a big role in building the experience. Internet speed, availability of games on most devices, cutting the clutter, using typically used phrases language, simplifying gameplay are some of the key aspects we explore, monitor, implement, take feedback and reiterate. We monitor data and constantly evolve our offerings. CX is a dynamic thing and based on the insights it needs to evolve constantly.
- What are your expansion plans?
The total market is estimated to be $4Bn in SEA with 30% yearly growth, increasing our market share is our top priority. We want to build more games, make our platform robust and focus on the expansion within SEA, Our MOAT understand the market, games that are made for that market, and the stickiness of those games. In the near term, we are exploring options to have a strategic partnership and scale rapidly.