Interview With Ivan Montik, Founder of SOFTSWISS

CasinosHunter is always curious about the new games and online casinos, and also about the new trends, technologies, and innovations in the online gambling niche. If you are also interested, check out the new insightful CasinosHunter Q&A with Ivan Montik, Founder of SOFTSWISS!

Interview With Ivan Montik, Founder of SOFTSWISS
8 min read

About SOFTSWISS

SOFTSWISS

It can be stated that SOFTSWISS was founded in 2009, but the Online Casino Platform product was launched in 2012, before the founders launched a crypto payment processing solution in 2013, and it all started growing from there. The company was founded by Ivan Montik, in Belarus. 

Fast forward today, the company has grown impressively. There are over 1000 employees, several offices in different countries, over 300 online casino sites launched, and licenses in 8 jurisdictions acquired. Lately, SOFTSWISS has entered the Nigerian market, one of the most promising markets in Africa. 

The company develops online casino and betting software, and has a wide range of software solutions and operational services for different types of clients. The solutions include Crypto Casino solutions, Game Aggregator, Sportsbook, affiliate marketing platform Affilka, Jackpot Aggregator, etc. Being a leading supplier, SOFTSWISS can take care of technical, legal, and financial processes for the operators. 

SOFTSWISS is the leading supplier that works with cryptocurrencies. Due to the founders’ prophetic vision of cryptogambling, the company delivered cutting edge technologies and solutions even when cryptocurrencies were down. As a result, today, this leading company is more authoritative than ever, in the niche of crypto gambling. 

Due to the huge experience of the team behind the brand, SOFTSWISS maintains hundreds of online casinos, works with white-label companies, supports licensing infrastructure, and therefore can be one of the best partners in developing online gambling projects.

Q/A Session With Ivan Montik, Founder of SOFTSWISS

Hello Ivan, thank you for finding time to take part in our Q&A. For starters, could you please tell our readers just a bit more about yourself and your background in the industry? 

Today, I like describing myself as an IT investor, business angel and pioneer in cryptocurrency iGaming, but first and foremost I am the Founder of SOFTSWISS. My journey in the online casino industry started in 2012 with the development of an online casino platform. Prior to that, I was running a small company which provided outsourcing services and developed various custom software projects. The idea of getting into iGaming came accidentally, as neither my colleagues nor I had any prior experience in the area.

Montik, Founder & CEO at SOFTSWISS

However, we had solid expertise in software development and had by that time launched our first product, an online auction platform, which became the basis for our fintech project and turned into a separate business. The launch of the SOFTSWISS online casino platform was followed by a crypto payment processing solution in 2013, and it all grew from there.

In less than 10 years, we’ve reached significant growth, added several other products to our portfolio, onboarded many new people to reach the number 900, launched more than 300 casino websites and got licensed in 8 jurisdictions.

I’m glad that we took this risky opportunity and I’m happy to have the people on my side who share my business vision and my values. We never stop pursuing new opportunities and growing further. 

How would you evaluate the years 2020-2021 for the company? SOFTSWISS has had new releases and collaborations, yet, as far as we know, there were political issues interrupting the work (in addition to the pandemic!)? Is it all over now? 

The last couple of years have been hard for everyone and required a lot of flexibility and stress resistance. Due to the pandemic, many businesses learned to adapt to the new working conditions, with the home office and a total absence of face to face communication with colleagues and business partners. For iGaming, it seemed especially hard because a lot of business is made during industry shows and exhibitions and there were no events at all. In any case, we put our employees’ health as our first priority and switched to home offices. It actually worked well because we already had stable processes and well-established online communication, so with a bit of self-discipline it turned into an effective working strategy which we still keep to. 

Apart from the pandemic, the political situation in Belarus, where our main development office is located, was and remains another significant challenge. In the summer 2020, after the elections, there were long-term internet shutdowns, and for an IT company supporting 300 websites it could be quite dramatic. To avoid the risks, we quickly transferred about 100 employees to neighbouring Ukraine for business continuity. It was a new experience and it really did a lot for our business. 

In 2020, we got a local gaming license in Belarus and planned to launch operations there, but we cancelled the plans because of the local economic crisis. In order to avoid such negative circumstances in the future and minimise other risks caused by the politically unstable situation, we speeded up the process of opening new offices. Now SOFTSWISS has a local presence in Poland, Georgia and Malta, and our employees can choose between these locations. 

With all the turbulence of the last couple of years, I have to say that the time was quite productive for our company. We launched several new products, Sportsbook, Jackpot Aggregator, and Affilka, and added a new game studio, 1spin4win, to the existing BGaming studio.

The difficulties didn’t kill us, but made us stronger. 

What are the biggest strengths of SOFTSWISS as a company? 

Internally, our biggest strength is our people. The great team that grows fast but still manages to remain a team, share the same values and support each other in difficult times. That’s what stands behind all the benefits that we bring to our clients as a company. Those are the high quality software products and top customer service. These two basic things played a crucial role in earning client trust when we just started our journey. 

However, you need to constantly offer more and grow stronger to survive in the highly competitive market.

SOFTSWISS has a strong focus on innovation and implementation of the latest technologies in our products, from crypto processing to artificial intelligence and machine learning. Being on the forefront of innovation, we make sure that our products stand out in the market and help our clients beat the competition. 

SOFTSWISS is also strong in terms of geography as we are cooperating with many local gaming jurisdictions and guarantee our clients an international presence. 

Can you please tell our readers more about the new product - the Jackpot Aggregator? What are its benefits for the companies? What are its benefits for the players, directly? 

​​The Jackpot Aggregator is a standalone solution. It offers a completely new jackpot as a service business model. The aggregator can be integrated into any projects, from online casinos to game aggregators, and is very flexible in terms of settings: the operator can decide whether it’s used for just one game or for the whole game collection, set daily or progressive jackpots, add unique features with the help of existing templates or create custom campaigns.

For players, the direct benefit is an improved UX, as jackpots add a new layer of excitement to the gaming experience. For the operators, it automatically translates into more players, higher client retention rates and the growth of player lifetime value. It’s a strong marketing tool that helps brands stand. 

What products by SOFTSWISS are you proud of the most? What products are the most efficient for the company in business development and scaling?

SOFTSWISS Company

Each of our products was launched at a particular stage of the company development and has its own function, so it’s very hard to compare their performance and importance for SOFTSWISS in terms of scaling. All of them, from the very first version of the casino platform to the newly launched Jackpot Aggregator, are parts of the successful portfolio and contribute to the company’s overall performance, profitability and reputation. The crypto casino solution helped us gain the reputation of an innovative provider in the iGaming space. It gave us the perfect start in the industry. BGaming, our first game studio, came as a natural follow-up as we gathered experience with various game providers and realised we could make our own high-quality content.

Finally, we launched the SOFTSWISS Game Aggregator to put our own gaming content and the content of other providers under one roof, providing operators with a huge library of games through a single integration.

If I had to pick my favourite product, that would be the Game Aggregator.

It’s truly unique because it’s not just about the large pool of games, but about creating effective marketing campaigns and offering targeted content to players. The Game Aggregator is a perfect accompaniment to any online casino platform, whether that be the SOFTSWISS casino platform or any other.

SOFTSWISS has announced an entry to Nigeria. Do you have plans for entering more markets in Africa? Can we expect Africa to become more regulated in terms of the gambling industry? 

Entering the Nigerian market is an important milestone for our company. With a population of over 200 million and 30% of them actively participating in sports betting, it’s the second biggest gambling market in Africa. It definitely has big potential for online casino operators, too, and we plan to launch a project there in the near future. 

We are also working on licensing in several other countries in the region where governments create a welcoming environment for foreign operators. It’s true that regulation differs from country to country and is currently undergoing a lot of changes. It is not always in favour of international investors. However, we work with what we have and pursue different opportunities to expand on the African continent with our products and services.

SOFTSWISS is provider #1 in crypto gaming. Has the recent rise of Bitcoin boosted crypto gambling? What are your plans in this sub niche?

Crypto gaming has been there since 2012, so almost for as long as Bitcoin itself. It has seen its ups and downs which were for sure the consequence of the changing popularity of cryptocurrencies. There was less demand for crypto casinos in 2018 during the drastic meltdown. But even at that time, I kept saying that crypto currencies are the future of online gaming. Some of the smartest brands who thought the same survived the crisis and have been operating successfully ever after. The recent rise has pushed crypto gambling even further, with the established brands quickly jumping in, new start ups popping up and player interest constantly growing. 

I can say that our position in this sub niche is very stable as SOFTSWISS is well-known in the industry as the pioneer in crypto gaming, so we will keep on working on our crypto casino solution and developing further together with our main partner, Cryproprocessing.com. 

More governments today try to regulate cryptocurrency and make people pay taxes on it. How do you think it can impact crypto online casinos, considering that most casino operators, and of course players, value cryptocurrencies specifically due to less control from the government? 

It’s wrong to think that players value cryptocurrencies due to less control or because they want to stay invisible. The control in a crypto casino is actually the same as in one accepting fiat currencies. Players go through the same KYC checks and security procedures, and the casinos themselves operate with the same licences as traditional gambling sites.

What really attracts players is the speed and transparency of cryptocurrency transactions, as well as better control over their own funds if compared to a fiat money casino where cash outs take several days.

Government regulation and taxes also have little impact on crypto casinos and are rather applied to certain trade transactions involving crypto currencies.

Players can rest assured that Bitcoin will remain the most effective way of payment at an online casino, and operators shouldn’t expect any decrease in player interest in the nearest future. 

Do you yourself like online casino games? If yes, what are your favourites? 

I’m not a gambler myself, but doing business has something in common with gambling. It’s also about taking risks and enjoying success if you are lucky, with just a little bit more control over the outcome. But since my company is my biggest passion and I like the things it is doing, I always test the new games we release. My latest favourite by BGaming is the Elvis Frog slot, it’s so bright and colourful and really entertaining. I generally prefer games with modern design and innovative features. The Arcader by Thunderkick is also a perfect example of how the state-of-the art graphics, cool music and retro-technology theme are combined in one slot.

What do you believe are the current and forthcoming trends in the online casino gambling industry? What should we expect? 

Apart from cryptocurrency in online casinos which we have already talked much about, artificial intelligence is quite obviously becoming a trend. AI mechanisms are used to enhance the player experience, making it more personal. When we learn how to analyse player preferences, we can offer each player their own interface, their preferred set of games and a number of other custom settings – bonuses, free spins, etc., which will all in all significantly increase the player lifetime value: 7 - 10% is the result we have already reached. AI is also beneficial for the operator as it helps with fraud protection,predicting customer behavior.

I believe that in some 5 years all online casinos will completely switch to AI administration and the biggest part of the daily routine will be automated.

Just look how efficiently smart customer care assistants resolve player issues – it brings the client service to a completely new level. 

Finally, online casinos will continue to go mobile. Our dependence on mobile phones keeps growing, and the lockdowns of the last couple of years have strengthened the trend. People have more time on their hands and use their phones for one of the few remaining types of entertainment, online betting. So the industry will have to keep up with technological advancements. This isn’t the first time I've said that adapting gambling sites for mobile devices is no longer an advantage, but a core requirement.

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