The Man Behind MrQ – Savvas Fellas Exclusive Interview: WhichBingo Podcast #6

The Man Behind MrQ – Savvas Fellas Exclusive Interview: WhichBingo Podcast #6


Greetings ladies and gentlemen and
welcome to the WhichBingo podcast episode 6. We’re getting into a series of
them now so, but of course I’m Roger Knowles but I’m not on my own I’m joined
by Anita Heffernan. Hello. And joined by Wayne Howe. G’day. And we’re also got a
special guest on the show. The Managing Director of MrQ.com. Savvas Fellas.
Hello sir how are we doing? I’m good how are you? Not too bad. Are you ready for a
grilling of questions today? I think so, I hope so! We are very friendly. Yes we are very friendly, very much relaxed so I was basically
what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna pass the microphone in the way over to Wayne and
he’s gonna begin questioning you hope you prepared wait now Dory
we will hold it hold it against you Dorian yeah so I’ve got some questions
on basically I just want to know the story of mr. Q so where do we start
start start by telling us and the listeners a little bit about yourself
your background up to the point which you decided you know what we’re gonna
launch our own bingo alright I guess my background is from a digital marketing
background fairly traditional background I’ve worked in media agencies including
Mediacom and kind of learned my my craft there and then I kind of stumbled into
affiliate marketing from that just to kind of flex a few muscles and figure it
all out from an SEO perspective and I stumbled into there the gambling space
and then from the from the affiliate space you kind of affiliates generally
make a transition to white labels because you’re a publisher and you take
on advertisers but if you’re an affiliate and a white label you’re a
publisher and an advertiser so it felt fairly kind of natural and so we did
that and then we decided you know what let’s not just be the publisher and the
advertiser there’s B the publisher and the advertiser but let’s own the IP of
the advertiser because when you have that
you can kind of tweak things as you see fit and you don’t rely on someone else
so that’s kind of the journey in a small nutshell so what well I think you just
answered my next question was what made you decide to to sort of do that
launching on suffer I mean it’s a big undertaking it’s huge it’s very very
very big I mean when we when we decided to do it I kind of spoke to a few people
and they were like listen you really need to know what you’re getting into
and I kind of ignored it so being naive is good but knowing that there’s stuff
that’s gonna come up that you need to learn as you go along but yeah we did it
and we did it because as a white label operator you work with all these
different partners and for the most part a lot of them are built on old systems
old technologies and even the guys who are a little bit more modern they’re
still patching it in places now they leave the body what about sauce – it was
done when flash was kind of trend in and so we said let’s build it and let’s not
outsource it let’s use modern technology and then hopefully that gives us the
advantage of speed because we’re small we lean more agile and for the most part
that’s that’s kind of worked exactly as you should have yeah we were so excited
when we found out that a new platform was actually gonna be large because I
mean you’ll know yourself like back in night 2013-2014 you know that the bingo
industry was like Escalade in at a rate of knots and you know when a new site
was launched you could think ah you know what’s it gonna look like how is it
gonna play and then all of a sudden it was the same thing time after time after
time and so when a new one was coming it was wow this is gonna be great but then
obviously you obviously hit there was issues it was more complicated than you
thought like like you said a little bit of naivete there but how long did it
take you all together from start to finish I mean I we went about it the
wrong way as well so we designed and then we feel will design it what we
want it to look like and then we’ll start developing the design and creating
it into real form that that was wrong but in total probably about four years
and that includes a year of being operational since last August but
there’s there’s so many potholes along the way especially because the biggest
challenge is if you decide not to outsource it if you decide to build it
with a certain level of integrity from a software development point of view
there’s it’s gonna take longer but it should pay dividends in the long run
longer run then now but you’re also bootstrapping it so you’re funding
everything yourself you don’t you know you have these other areas of the
business like the affiliate side of our business the white-label side of our
business which funds this project and because you’re doing that you can’t
certain decisions you can’t make you can’t hire twenty developers who are
like premium lead developers and no Java like the back of their hand you have to
hire a couple who are resourceful and then you have a really good relationship
with so three years but it could have been done differently obviously Wow yeah
sorry anything what were the biggest challenges you faced along the way and
was there ever a point what you thought or maybe we can’t do this although we
should I always say as if I knew then what I know now I don’t think I would
have done it it’s too big it’s too big you have like
at first when you think about you think it’s just a random number generator it’s
a ticket generator and then you’re pulling in third party slots that’s not
that hard and in the in initially we wanted to build a slot engine as well so
I have an RG that we you know create games and animations and themes for and
also build an affiliate platform so the entire ecosystem but then we were
thought about it were like well you learn the hard way and then you realize
actually certain things I just need to give up too
third party income access can do the affiliate side a third party can do the
slot side kids to build an RGS the mass around that is pretty intense and you
already have the problem of bootstrapping this whole thing so those
lessons are kind of they came in pretty quick and then you have to kind of undo
your strategy and then as you get down the road a software developer comes to
you and says well have you thought about this about how the tickets are generated
or how the balls are generated and the time between ball calls and the wallet
and how the wallet talks to the tickets and how the wallet talks to the third
party suppliers and have you got the contract for the third point supplies
and have you got your gambling license and have you got your acquiring bank and
have it and then he just goes on and on and on and on your list is where we stop
talking now because we are never ever gonna see a new bingo platform ever
again have you seen that interview don’t do it don’t do it it’s a good journey
it’s it’s a really good journey but it’s you know you need to be prepared Yuri
and I don’t think we were as prepared but it’s it’s a fun journey and it’s
it’s better when you’re live because you get to tweet the thing that you bill so
it’s it’s rewarding but it’s it’s hard graft have you guys penciled it come
online so you know I know Brighton you know there for us well we’ve again this
is a new learning that we’ve kind of undertaken part of the journey is that
we thought that you know you could go direct with all these slot providers but
that takes a lot of dev work so we’ve decided to go down an aggregator route
where you go in with one provider who gives you access to the market like a
distribution channel so we’re we go in live with them hopefully before next
week CG ours so that would be that will give us a lot of content from net n
quick spin place on Perry play iwg so we’re going to go from two providers
that we currently have which is a thunderkick in an icon to like the
majority of the market hopefully that will help with retention
as well yeah good we’d almost touch on it just then a nice I was going to ask
do you think we’ll ever see anyone else attempt to build their own software I
don’t think they’ll do bootstraps I think if they do it they’ll do well
actually no I don’t I’m missing another pot but you ever member wonder bingo
when they launched a few things about I think they came from a facebook back
around the another Facebook app of bingo and then they brought it and they they
built like yourself they built it themselves from scratch and it it looked
amazing had all these bells and whistles they like had themes where a Halloween
was all bats flying across the screen and stuff and then it was a it felt like
I’m out of months before they just ran out of money
and then they were gone never to be seen again you can get carried away you can
get carried away that feature creeping is a real problem with that sort of
thing but you’ve got a dressier I think they had they had a bigger product but I
think that was I think it shelved and that was a b2b product so you’re not
quite b2c and then you’ve also got pragmatic who have a beta beeping a
product and they plug that in via Nixon but they’re B to B’s and they kind of
because they haven’t had that experience on the ground as a b2c the product’s
kind of lacking something just there’s something missing when we look at it we
just feel like it’s a bit stale yeah they do need a bit of personality no
because the main it is quite there’s not much you can do with the bingo game
itself but you’ve got to try and inject something I mean player tech do it very
well you know they’ve got all these different kinds of games it’s still a 90
ball game or an 80 ball game or whatever but that each one seems to have a
personality you know the maps of a bingo game
don’t get talked about and are massively underestimated it is a very very complex
beast and the creativity that you can inject to the mass of it whether it’s 90
or 75 ball is incredible even something as trivial as this game is a paid-for
game this game is a free game this game is and having that mechanic so that that
is quite deep and the people who do it best are probably played out because the
mechanics that they have and how creative they’ve got with their bingo
and the random number generator side of things is it’s quite creative but we
don’t see enough of that at the moment because it’s so kind of artificially
crowded is why nabina have the regulatory changes of the last year or
two affected your plans and obvious have overcome these obstacles that keep
coming from the gum and Commission I think it’s pretty intense and it kind of
has the factor in to you to build something like bearing in mind we
decided to build this before you know the landscape started getting as bumpy
in as rocky as it is now it just makes it that much harder without without a
point of consumption tax at 21% I think it would have been a much easier ride
for us at 15 is manageable at zero you start to see as an operator coming from
a white label side of things you start to see how these guys have got as big as
they’ve gotten because that 15% it’s a huge number to go from 15 to 21 it’s
even bigger and that from a monetary point of view is big but then you have
the RG side of things the source of funds the AML cheques and these bigger
guys we feel like they’re tripping over themselves a little bit just to kind of
undo all of this legacy stuff that sits in the background whereas for us it’s
quite easy to maneuver around it so if credit cards will turned off tomorrow
and the GCE based on their consultation said listen no more
cards we’ve already prepared we’re already prepared for it we can just turn
it off in the click of a button and we have that advantage and that’s why we
feel our platform is kind of it’s fairly modern and we have that as our USP as it
were sounds more amendable it’s very agile
it’s very our job because we have an outsourced to anything because we’re not
tripping over any old code that we bought or inherited or wasn’t built in
2008 we can maneuver around it a lot easier if the nail we’re doing working
for you it’s good and I think everyone will get there eventually but they’re
youth there’s abuse in having no wagering people come in they use a code
they deposit they get their free spin they take the deposit out so it
introduces different problems that you have to prepared for a lot of bonus
abuse but nothing’s really changed there it’s just the way that the abuse
happened has changed oh wow you wanna thought we were thit with this
small amounts that are being bandied about today yeah unfortunately if
someone deposits thing and gets 10 bins and wins 5 quid they’re pretty happy
about that because they get the five they get the 10 out and there’s no
commitment to come back or do anything but it’s just part of part of running a
no wager inside so I need to play mr. Qi I’ve been online and played some of the
slot games a Muslim era didn’t delve into the binky tell isn’t for those who
haven’t played mr. mr. Q what you’ve actually got on the site at the moment
and then what’s next what can we look forward to aside from all these exciting
slot manufactures you said they’re gonna get plugged in Seng so there’s I believe
currently there’s five different bingo rooms we’ve got a couple of different
mechanics you’ve got your 75 ball you’ve got your
90 ball and then we have another mechanic which is a rollover mechanic
which I really like this one where you buy a ticket and it’s 75 ball bingo it’s
a coverall pattern and you have to get it in a certain
number of calls now if you don’t then the pot rolls over and rolls over and
rolls over until someone wins it so it’s kind of like a roll over bingo mechanic
so that there that’s what we currently we’re working on a number of different
mechanics I’m not going to give away too much at the moment on another
disappointment going like but lots of different mechanics that will enhance
the bingo experience and we’re also going to turn our chat back on because
it’s been off for a while just while we figure out you know some things out in
terms of marketing because liquidity is a problem with with bingo at this level
you need to get a good volume of people into the rooms before you can get to the
social aspect of it yeah sorry wooden that just leads me to my next question I
mean a lot I think most of you rooms at the moment are best the prize are based
on stakes have you considered seeing any of the
rooms like to tempt people in to get them used to the game and then hopefully
looking coming back but well it’s only you know not too big prize money people
don’t tend to be that interested and it could be retention could be a problem in
that way totally you hit the nail on the head it’s a little bit of chicken and
egg though because early on when when we launched there we knew that liquidity
and getting players there and keeping them there was an issue so we came up
with a kind of welcome bonus but it just got so heavily abused it was good to see
because you had all these kind of people come in and they’re referring people but
they were just there for one thing and it was like a seeded room every 10
minutes with five-pound seeded so everyone was kind of getting a decent
share of it and it got out of control and we have to kind of pull back from
that so and now we’ve gone a little bit in the opposite direction and so we need
to go and find that middle ground between how much to seed how many
players are there and you know fine-tune that a bit right yeah it’s
it’s definitely the biggest challenge in in running a successful bingo sigh in
that you’ve got to manage the liquidity properly
have you thought about putting any of you of the white labels onto the
software have you got a name for the software is it mr. Q software I don’t
have a name for it so it’s read away because this keeps coming up I’ve got a
few ideas but I’m not – I’m not too bothered about that just yet if you’ve
got any suggestions I’m all-in but you’ve got to be able to find the domain
of that name that’s the big challenge migrating the stuff over know it I think
it’d be more headache notes worth fair enough sounds like it yeah it’d be
tricky I wanted to quickly touch on something you mentioned about the chat
rooms being closed so is that the case at the moment there’s the chat you can
just play the bringable there’s no chat yeah because Roger and I are admins on a
Facebook group for aspiring chat oh should we say and hope some of the
members might be listening to this or watching hello but it’s fair to say they
are absolutely intense trying to find it where’s the chapel’s job with a chat
with shop and as soon as they get a sniff that there’s one available they
will they will pile that email address I think they’ve already done that to mind we did Charlie early on we did some
stuff early on so we turned on the chair we had seeded rooms and we had chat
hosts and we also monitored it internally you know profanities and
stuff like that although there’s there’s filters to manage that so things it was
really nice to see but you always knew that there was this agenda if they just
want the see they just want to win the seed and then once I see the turned off
they’re gone the the issue around chaps is that most people are mobile and
figuring out what that UI UX looks like on
mobile with chat bingo slots the kind of the three big things that you need to
have is a big big challenge someone who doesn’t well his game since game seus
ui/ux is like you know it’s it’s the best out there in my opinion and so we
haven’t quite wrapped our heads around how we do that yet because we sacrificed
on mobile we sacrificed the slot view so whilst on desktop you’ve got the three
on mobile you’ve got the – you’ve got the chat and the bingo but it doesn’t
seem that people chat much on mobile I don’t have too much insight into this
but it doesn’t seem like you can do both at the same time – a good level of kind
of competence where they’re both ly nice they’re both nicely managed so you’ve
got to wrap your head around that side first
yeah the mobile is a whole different ballgame when it comes to chats and you
know these days I’m surprised so many people still think
that you know chat hosts this that so many are required you know I still see
as the Holy Grail really of home working you know and the chat houses is great
but I think it just represents something that that’s bigger which is the social
element of it and that’s again where games have just dominate yeah you know
play tech have great mechanics and you know it’s it’s creative in that sense
but games use have created a community and I’ve just led the social side so it
goes beyond and it’s much bigger than just chat hosts it’s like a social place
where I want to go and socialize as well as have this entertainment element of it
yeah I agree all right well you’ve eaten me out of
question did you already filler left that you
wanted to grill some us about while we still got her no I mean I’ve lacks I was
interested about possibly moving to white labels you know for a little bit
more liquidity you know if you’ve got a little network you know I thought that
might have been and you’ve got some players there that might have come over
with you that that was quite interesting to me but obviously it’s not feasible at
the moment you know maybe a little bit a long way down the line maybe sorry – at
the end of the alternative asking why aren’t you just licensing you out why
are you just giving it to you know all these potential beater beat partners or
even doing more b2c brands but it’s really difficult to talk about this
industry without talking about how much noise there is from how many white
labels there are and when you strip it all back you’ve got like a handful of
soft and then and which I kind of endorse and I don’t fully agree with and
I’m also part of the problem but then to start feeding into that problem more and
more and more I just I would like to just create a brand that feels unique
first and see how that goes before saying you know what we’re open for for
b2b business now makes sense I actually just have the question pop into my head
start I did write down what’s with the name mr. Q it’s very unusual it you know
as got the word bingo in the name for starters where did that conforms there
what was the the concept behind mr. Q oh god I should really have like a barrel
then no one I’m gonna give you three letter domains are just cool very true
they’re three led domains are very rare as well to try and get hold of them so
yeah yeah I don’t know anyone like who’s my mr. Q it’s not my mom or my dad or
anything F three-letter domain was really nice we let the main that’s available and
then just go through the list and try to figure out which one I pity the fool who
tries to buy that thank you so much for watching and listening to his service
thank you so much for joining us it’s been really interesting to you to take
us through all that and it makes it sound extremely daunting but I tip my
hat to you say you’ve done a very good job and I’m looking forward to seeing
walks coming up in the near future with Wendy – thank you so much for joining me
everybody who’s watching a listening because we are now available on all
podcast services were available on iTunes now which we finally got through
to iTunes and they were like yeah okay we’ll confirm it but thank you so much
check it out over on YouTube and on our Facebook page
I don’t forget to head over to witch bingo comm check out all the latest
promos and deals and everything like that and we’ve got card at UK sorry
which bingo you can peel them and we will speak to you and hopefully you’ll
see us next week thank you very much

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