Founded back in 2017 by Jamie Mitchell and Wayne Stevenson, Low6 is on a mission to help both franchises and rights holders monetise their mobile applications.
While the first iteration of Low6 was to score the lowest number of points based on a particular racecard, the company has ‘evolved immensely’, with commercial deals now spanning 22 UK football clubs, UFC and the PDC World Darts.
Mitchell and Stevenson – CEO of US and CEO of Europe respectively – were joined by Josh Turk, the company’s Chief Marketing Officer, to discuss a ‘pivot’ towards offering games not solely reliant on live sport, the secret to its hyper growth in 2020 and how clubs can derive new streams of revenue through Low6’s white label products.
SBC: 2020 was a difficult year for many, was this the case for Low6?
WS: In 2020, we decided to take stock, look at our model to work out what it was we needed to do to future proof ourselves going forward in relation to live sport being cancelled. We applied to the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) for licences which covered games that weren’t solely reliant on live sport.
Because of that pivot, we’ve gone from strength to strength in 2020. So once live sport resumed, we got our first club onboard as a UK football partner, which was Sheffield Wednesday.
What we found was that our partners all needed new revenue streams. COVID allowed us to provide an ROI and some investment for the clubs as well as bringing in new income streams through revenue share commissions from our gameplay model. In a way, COVID has helped us to drive the business forward despite the adverse circumstances.
SBC: Sheffield Wednesday was the first club you decided to launch Picks with, but what would you say has been the key benefit to using a white-label product when it comes to partnering with teams?
WS: Our first partnership was actually with PDC World Darts back in January 2020 which was really successful from the start. Things were really beginning to gather momentum and then COVID hit.
We then started doing deals with football clubs, the UFC, and British Super Bikes as well. We’ve got some exciting partnerships in the pipeline, so expect some deals with large global federations as well as with franchises and partners in other parts of the globe.
Sheffield Wednesday was the first football club that we partnered with. Since then, we’ve onboarded 22 UK football clubs. We’re in talks with some Premier League football clubs, however their names will have to remain a secret for now!
SBC: Various clubs – especially lower-league teams – have struggled during the pandemic due to the lack of fans walking through the turnstiles. How has Low6 helped clubs monetise their audience over the last few months?
JM: We basically reward the clubs in a turnover model. If fans play the game that the club is advocating across their social channels, we reward the club. We will have been a valuable revenue stream across multiple clubs and franchises in the UK over the last few months. When fans were unable to attend, we would still have participation on our platform which meant that the club could still derive revenue from Low6.
SBC: Between November 2020 and February 2021, the company has grown massively – with now more than 100,000 users. What would you say is the secret behind that growth?
JM: I’d say virality. We work with influencers on YouTube such as True Geordie, Arsenal Fan TV. This is also a fairly new product to the market – Pick’ems may be very popular in the US, but they’re certainly not that well known in the UK. Our product is fun, engaging and it does go viral. We do see people and friends sharing it and creating private contests with their friends. We believe that the UK sports fan is moving towards this form of entertainment in terms of enjoying a safer, softer approach to sports betting.
Certainly in the Pick’ems apps that we provide, it’s proving to be very popular among millennials and Gen Z players. Over 85% of our database is 39 years old or younger. The Majority of which are GenZs. We’re bucking the trend by showing that great content from influencers on YouTube as well as clubs also promoting a great game with cash prizes to be won through a call to action has led to exponential hypergrowth in a very exciting startup.
SBC: What was the thought process behind using influencers such as True Geordie?
JM: If we go back to our core business strategy, which is our call to action, this is being made by someone you trust. For millennials, the club would be the right person to do that. For GenZs, their heroes are YouTubers. A wise man once said ‘fish where the fish are’ and that’s exactly what we’re doing.
WS: Using influencers allows us as a company to onboard users at a very low cost per acquisition (CPA). We’re bucking the trend in that we’re being so disruptive with that as well.
The CPA cost for a normal bookmaker tends to be significantly high, with promotions, underlying marketing costs etc. Because we utilise our network of influencers, the rights holders and the clubs, ours is significantly lower.
JT: If we look at our roster of YouTube influencers, each channel has an unique ability to capture a live audience of +20,000 of users in a specific moment in time, engaging directly with their avid fans via an organic community-oriented 2-way conversation.
We are disrupting the traditional onboarding customer journey, while effectively increasing conversion rates and growing user participation week-over-week. Owning the conversation as it happens allows our users a fully educational experience of the product, with real-time community reactions and troubleshoot support at time of install/registration.
We have changed the narrative of onboarding GenZ with community driven support through live comments, and influencers responding to camera how to best utilize the app and promote prizes for winning our games.
Our typical users are at home watching their favourite Youtube shows alongside their friends and digital community, all while making their predictions alongside the live-stream Youtuber. Our top performing Picks Shows have a group of influencers sitting around a table discussing outcomes of upcoming matches, generating thrilling banter, all-while providing insights to the viewers and locking in their “picks” for the match. Avid millennial/GenZ sports fans crave accessible, on-demand digital content that can’t be replicated outside this interactive digital playground.
SBC: How about social media, how has that played a role?
JM: All of our partners engage our channels via their Social Media platform. One of the big investments from Low6 was to invest in a world leading marketing team which is led by Josh Turk – who’s a veteran within the sports betting industry, activating influencer led marketing campaigns with professional sports athletes, teams, leagues and celebrities in prior roles.
Our marketing team produces all motion and still graphics on behalf of our rights holders and influencers, providing top quality design and gaming compliant promotional materials. Our team is well versed in marketing regulations and provide communication creatives for our partners to simple distribute across their channels. There is no barrier to entry, we make it as easy as possible.
JT: We identified a gap among onboarding new partnerships – limited access to additional marketing and design resources during COVID-19 era. We made it our mission to always include full design/marketing services, which went viral among lower league football clubs whatsapp groups and that positive story of a company that was aiding in resources played an integral part of our hyper growth amongst those leagues in such a short period.
It was that positive narrative and willingness to grow together alongside clubs which propelled Low6 from a couple of football clubs to over 20 in just a few months. We are providing an opportunity for clubs to monetise their audience where ticket sales were no more. To this day, I still believe in the power of word-of-mouth virality, driven by your early day adopters, should never be undervalued.
A lot of these clubs built up a really strong and avid fan base over time across all their socials,and solely were activating their channels across engaging campaigns, not fully realising the additional monetary opportunities a captive audience has to offer. We offer an opportunity to monetise that audience on social media through a gamification partnership with Low6.
WS: When we first agree commercial terms with a club, part of the investment from our side is that we invest in building the app technology which can be downloaded from the app stores. All we ask for in return is that the club promotes that app to their fans. If the clubs and franchises are engaged and invested, it makes our overall investment of building the app and supporting their marketing strategies worthwhile.
SBC: So Low6 recently revealed plans for a 2021 IPO. How have you gone about onboarding the right investors?
JM: We’ve been very lucky that we have some very high profile ex-gaming investors that sit on our cap table – they understand what it is we’re trying to build and the scale which we’re building at. We’re very lucky in those early days to have those investors.
We were also extremely fortunate to be represented by our brokers Cannacord Genuity which has helped us onboard a new tranche of investors into the business – many of whom have experience in this industry. One of our latest announcements was that in our pre-IPO round, we had onboarded an extremely high-profile gaming investor and I think the market will be really impressed once that is announced – especially in terms of how this can help us grow both in the UK and the US.
SBC: The gambling industry is undergoing some drastic changes with social responsibility and player protection becoming a core focus. How has Low6 positioned itself to ensure that SR is at the core of your apps?
WS: Social responsibility has always been at the forefront of both mine and Jamie’s minds. My background is 30 years of gambling, so when we first incorporated the company, we could have decided to allow players to bet using credit cards. But we took the commercial view to not put credit card processes in place. Why should anyone have to borrow money to place a bet? It’s just wrong. This was something that we strongly believe in.
Secondly, we got GBG id3global to do the age verification onboarding process and WorldPay as our merchant service as we wanted to work with the market leaders. As a new company, you need to demonstrate to the market that you have got the right credentials. You have to relay that professionalism to potential customers but also to potential partners.
Because of the nature of our model, customers can’t chase the money with us. If someone has £50 on a selection of horse races or a football match, they might go spend another £50. They can’t do that with us. At the moment, it’s free-to-play, but when we transition to include pay-to-play components, it will be a small stakes game with restrictions on the number of entries you can make. We are ultra responsible with everything we do and we think that this sets us apart from others within the industry.
At Low6, we welcome the gambling review, we think it’s a good thing. We think that what it will do to our business is that it will differentiate us massively from our competitors. We’ve created fun, entertaining – but most importantly safe – games.
If the affordability checks have to be done, that suits us as a company because why would someone who can only bet £5 need to deposit a significant amount of money? They won’t need to do that. There would be a lot of processing that would need to be done for a customer to lose significant amounts of money with us. The message we want to give is that we’re a fun, safe, responsible gambling company.
JT: Low6 offers a second screen experience that complements viewing the match alongside your mates feuding over which team will win the match. At its core, Low6 set out to capture those moments and digitalise that thrill and excitement through a peer vs peer contest across a larger community. Our gamification is community driven, as opposed to our competitors in the sports betting industry. Players are pooled together in large prize pot contests where multiple winners share the winnings. Your picks are pitted against other fans as opposed to competing against odds set by a bookmaker. We offer a true community-based activity, engaging with your favourite sports teams on a peer-vs-peer level, where ultimate bragging rights reign supreme credit!
SBC: We’re only a few months into the year, but what can we expect from Low6 for the remainder of 2021?
JM: In 2021, you can also expect hypergrowth from the team, absolute state of the art gamification across all of our platforms as well as added value for all of our partners. Coupled in with that, we have an exciting IPO which will allow members of the public to take a stake in the business which we’re incredibly excited about. We’ll also have lots more focus on how we can help the industry reform into a safer place to enjoy sport with your friends.
WS: We have applied for our Maltese licence and we’re also in the process of applying for our Northern Territory licence in Australia. We have partnerships in Holland which will be announced soon as well our US expansion. What you can expect from Low6 is a real global expansion into markets where our business model and partnership influencer model works. It’s an exciting year ahead!