Alpha Hub RG Accelerator – 2018 Wrap Up

Alpha Hub RG Accelerator – 2018 Wrap Up

Alpha Hub was launched in 2018 to help us find partnership opportunities with start-ups that could complement and support our internal initiatives around Responsible Gambling.

Specifically, we were interested in startups with solutions relating to:

  • Customer matching
  • Verification
  • Online journey
  • Data and analytics
  • Self-service
  • Retail

Responsible Gambling is a key business priority for us, and we were keen to foster relationships with organizations with new ideas and perspectives to help move our business and our industry forward.

At its core, the program shares two of PPB’s main values:

  1. Agility “…it’s changing direction quickly for competitive advantage and if we fail, we fail fast and learn from it. It’s being curious about the outside world.”
  2. Low ego “…we never believe in our own hype. It’s about listening to others, sharing success collectively…”

The accelerator model stood out as an interesting solution to enable us to move faster in response to some of our main business challenges.

We decided to run the program in Cluj-Napoca, an emerging technology hub and the location of our largest development center.

The selection process

Sourcing and the initial interviews were held by our partners – Risky Business & Techsylvania. Through subsequent interviews and discussions with our internal stakeholders, seven of the most promising start-ups were selected.

(the below links will be linked with the startup names)

International

Cluj

What was the incentive for the start-ups?

In exchange for their participation in the program, the selected start-ups had the opportunity to:

  • Receive feedback and input from senior stakeholders to help them drive their ideas forward
  • Showcase their company and product to potential investors
  • Analyze sample data sets to help train machine learning models

The winning start-ups got the chance of a paid Proof of Concept to assess the feasibility of implementing their solution.

How did we run Alpha Hub 2018?

The acceleration program spanned over two weeks.

Day 1: Kick-off day

The start-ups pitched their ideas/projects to internal stakeholders and mentors, with our partners providing support.

Round table discussions took place during the day to clarify ideas, understand their applicability to PPB challenges and help set the direction for the work done through the next two weeks.

Acceleration phase

During this period, there were meetings with internal and external mentors to guide work and to understand business and technical needs and address them quickly. Start-ups were given access to experts from within the company to help them validate their approach and shape their products.

Day 2: Demo day and pitch event

Each start-up presented their achievements in the two weeks and plans for future enhancements in front of PPB stakeholders. In the evening, startups presented to an external audience of investors and other businesses.

Finally, two winners were selected:

  • Pamble – for their companion mobile app that uses CBT to help people overcome gambling addiction
  • Mindway AI – the Danish start-up that uses expert psychologists and AI to build a “digital expert” that assesses customers for problem gambling behavior

What did Alpha Hub achieve?

As the first corporate accelerator program we’ve run at PPB, we achieved a great deal and learned a number of important lessons from Alpha Hub.

  • The large volume of applicants showed us that start-ups are interested in partnering with large corporates like us and Alpha Hub could be a bridge to build connections in the future.
  • The accelerator helped us strengthen our position as an active partner of innovative tech companies, it set a good example in Cluj in terms of corporates opening up to start-ups and added up to the good image we already have here.
  • We learned that it’s important to have the right partners and stakeholders involved from the outset. Gathering all the relevant people together when ideas are presented or decisions are being made and having the stakeholder’s engagement all through the program is vital.
  • Also, a fundamental aspect is to be able to communicate clearly, to have transparency and to understand each other’s needs. Corporations and start-ups have each their own objectives, views, and ways of working that need to be aligned in order to make collaboration work.

Ultimately, we set out to find one promising start-up and ended up with two potential partners that we are looking forward to working with. So, for the first accelerator edition, we considered it a success!

Plans for 2019 and beyond

Building on our existing experience and success, we’re excited to think about what Alpha Hub could grow into in the future.

Over time, Alpha Hub will become a global community not only of start-ups, but also academics, investors and corporates. It will bring together technologies, ideas, and people that have the potential to positively enhance the sports betting and gaming industry.

We want to start to cultivate this community by making a positive contribution and providing genuine value to the ecosystem, which includes:

  • Sharing thought provoking technology and industry insights
  • Hosting relevant events and meetups in each of our major locations
  • Providing ad hoc support and mentorship to start-ups, including introductions to our wider network

If you’re interested in supporting the Alpha Hub community or think that we might be able to help you, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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