On February 13th we completed our move over to the new exchange, and bets and offers across all sports are now matched on the new platform. As a retail customer you may not have noticed. Success is sometimes a quiet affair externally, however inside the Matchbook offices the release of our new platform was celebrated as a huge milestone. It was the culmination of two and a half years work across a team of more than 50 architects, engineers, testers, and designers. It will enable Matchbook to offer more sporting events and betting markets, faster bet submission times, facilitate greater liquidity, and pave the way for a series of significant product updates in almost every area.
Investing for the long term
We’ve had to maintain a very high level of discipline and a commitment to our long term goals to achieve this. Over the last two and a half years, we’ve sacrificed a lot of product features in the short term to build out the right infrastructure for the long term. We’ve positioned the company very carefully to fully capitalise on this new accelerated growth phase, bringing us to a point where we are now finally ready to release new and exciting features on our next generation platform.
Built in-house from scratch
Every company is a technology company now. If you don’t own your technology, you are not in control of your own future and that’s a very risky place to be, especially in this industry. At Matchbook, we own and control all of our technology which gives us a tremendous advantage. We control our product roadmap and only build what we need. We focus on what’s important for the customer. And a key part of the value for the customer is to give them best price. To do this we need to be lean, efficient, and have plenty of automation. By introducing these efficiencies across the business we can be extremely competitive, passing these savings onto our customers.
The new betting platform is all about enabling the business to deliver on its strategic vision. It will allow rapid innovation in new feature development at a rate that we’ve never seen before. It’s also about scale and performance. We set ourselves some pretty aggressive targets when designing the system and we’ve been blown away by the initial performance metrics. We’re currently serving more than 300 million API requests per day, and we expect that to be up over a billion per day before the end of the year. Speed is obviously crucial to our customers and we’re seeing some very impressive initial numbers there too. A brand new platform such as this also enables some exciting opportunities for powerful product features, including the delivery of a truly personalised experience for each customer.
Traditionally, technology has been used to enable businesses to carry out their functions, but with this new platform, technology is actually driving innovation and creating a competitive advantage for us. The platform itself has become a differentiator. We firmly believe that through continued investment in our platform, product, and technology that we can disrupt the gambling industry in the same way that Netflix, Spotify, and AirBnB have disrupted each of theirs.
Switching to the new system
Back in 2015, we had reached the point where we needed to have much more control and flexibility and an ability to rapidly deliver high value product to our growing customer base. So, we decided to start afresh using the best technology and system architecture available. We’ve modelled much of the design of the new platform on the designs of financial trading systems, and with some additional performance tuning, we expect in the future to see similar response times on transactions speeds, which would really be an industry first.
We moved sports over gradually as a way of controlling the load and the rate of growth on the new platform. It’s completely new, so we wanted to be fully confident in how it performed at scale. We needed to make sure we did it right first time. The trickiest part was to have the discipline to stick to our convictions. We knew this was the right thing to do, and the right time in our journey as a business to do it. We moved football over last as it’s our most popular sport amongst customers and we wanted to be 100% confident in the new platform before making the switch.
The new platform is a complete end-to-end event driven system. This scalable approach to building distributed systems has been tried in the industry before at enormous expense, but so far, others have only managed to transition small parts of their system to this architecture. We believe we’re the first in the industry to offer a true end-to-end event driven exchange platform, which gives us a huge advantage.
We benchmark our technology, not so much against industry competitors, but against the most successful tech companies in the World. As a result, we’re comfortable that our technology stack is leading edge, not only in the gaming industry, but in the wider technology industry as well.
The true difference here is that our industry competitors have mortgaged their futures to third parties, and in some cases across multiple platforms. Their view of the customer is fragmented, split across multiple systems, which have been built by other companies. This makes truly understanding your customer much more difficult, if not impossible. Having technology companies service your business rather than having it power your business is the wrong approach, especially where our industry is today. Owning your own technology is the only way to go.
Upcoming product improvements
The new platform will enable us to go wide in terms of more events and more markets, and deep in terms of liquidity with a better performing API and an attractive commission structure. In practical terms we expect to more than triple our live offering over the next three months. We’ve also just added Challenger tennis, and will be adding international horse racing and more North American sports very soon as well. We expect the underlying capabilities of the new platform to be very attractive to market makers, helping to boost liquidity across all of our markets. We’ll also be running a series of events later this year for API customers and market makers, showcasing the advantages of the new platform and how it can help them do more. If you’d like to be one of the first to see our upcoming product improvements, then check out our recently launched Matchbook Beta site.
The path to personalisation
As a brand, Matchbook understands that each unique bettor on our exchange has different needs and desires. Our technology and product strategies underpin the objective to provide a unique and personalised experience for each of these bettors. It’s all about providing the right experience for each customer, and our goal over the next 12 months is to have as many different versions of Matchbook as there are Matchbook customers.
Personalisation comes in many different ways. Interaction design, fluid customer journeys, timely market recommendations, and appropriate bonusing is all a part of it. It’s about offering simplicity to casual bettors, and from there, progressively enhancing the experience for more sophisticated exchange customers, right through to professional traders. It’s also about offering the right product at the right time. Some of the innovations will be immediately visible to customers via the UI; and some of it will be done in the background via our data analytics processes and structures. This is where modelling comes in to help us understand each individual customer, both with their habits and their intentions. Leveraging machine learning and data analytics capabilities to offer what the customer wants next before they even know it themselves. That’s what we’ll be delivering in the next phase of our product roadmap. In the coming months you’ll see these innovations begin to launch across all platforms on desktop and mobile.