1on1 with Lewis Holland on how DiscountIF is taking off

1on1 with Lewis Holland on how DiscountIF is taking off

Monday, October 17, 2016
AirMalta signals lift off for online rewards start-up

The B2B online discount retail offering DiscountIF has been enjoying a successful year. Earlier this month it won a pitch competition at the Leaders in Sport conference held in London and it has just seen Air Malta launch with a rewards programme offering free flight vouchers for all customers who predict the outcome of a sporting event.

The news caps a successful year during which the company also successfully smashed its crowdfunding target on Seedrs, raising £150,000 for a pre-money valuation of £1.25m, and TotallyGaming.com caught up with founder and chief executive Lewis Holland to discuss its recent successes. We start with the Air Malta deal and about how October is likely to mark a big landmark for the company – its first cash-flow positive month. 

Totally Gaming: Can you run through some of the recent developments with DiscountIF - they appear to be very encouraging?

Lewis Holland: Last week DiscountIF launched with a national airline, AirMalta. AirMalta had been looking for an innovative solution to reward but also engage with their customers, and DiscountIF was the perfect fit. The take up so far has been significant, and we’re looking forward to continue working with them. Just as we launched with AirMalta, we also won a Sports Tech Start-Up competition held at the Leaders in Sport Summit. The event was sponsored and hosted by Chelsea FC, SKY TV and Deltatre with hundreds of leaders of top executive from the sports industry attending the summit.

TG: Does it feel like the company has passed some kind of threshold of late - that momentum is picking up?

LH: Since launching our service in June this year, we’ve really picked up momentum both in clients and partners. October is likely to be a positive net cash flow month for us, which is a huge milestone for any innovative start-up to achieve.

TG: What has been the hardest part of managing the business to this point? Does it feel like you are still start-up at this point or do you think you have entered a different stage in the company's life?

LH: We’re still calling this our ‘development’ phase.  We’ve got a product which is being used and paid for by clients. Partners and integrations in place with the likes of marketing agencies and payment gateways, all of which are enablers for us to develop our business further. 

TG: What are your next targets? What have you identified as being the next stage of the company's development?

LH: We’re in discussions with over 100 sports clubs and their sponsors in the US, UK and Europe and we can’t wait to tell you about them when we launch. We’ve already started integration with a payment gateway to offer this as an add-on service to their merchants. We think this is a big opportunity for us to expand our client base.

TG: Are there any signs off 'me-too' competition in the gamified discount space?

LH: So far we’re the first in the market to offer a gamification tool powered by sport. There are other gamification tools in the market which are powered by games such scratch cards and slots. Given the team’s previous experience in both sportsbook and casino online gaming, we’re aware that there is far more trust and passion in sports than there is in casino gaming.

TG: The issue of engagement is, as you say, huge with the sports industry, and presumably others - what other businesses have you seen working in this area doing what you consider to be interesting work?

LH: We’re primarily addressing two commercial challenge for sports brands; what’s the return on investment (ROI) of a sponsorship? And how can I leverage the passion of the fan, to increase long-term engagement and revenue? In both cases we create a direct ‘transaction’ link between the product or service being sold, and the relevant sport event for the audience.

Our main focus is on sports sponsors. This is a huge market, with airlines alone spending over £350m in sport sponsorships, with very weak measurements of the ROI of that investment. Having said that, we also expanding our reach to sports brands selling their merchandise and tickets, sports retailers, telecoms, the travel industry and betting operators. We’re currently active in each of these industries, with companies based in the UK and Malta.

We’re also in talks with multiple football clubs in UK, Spain, Italy and the US. Furthermore, following our recent success at Leaders in Sport we also picked up talks with a few teams in NBA and NFL. For betting operators, we’re offering a service to engage users to deposit more and get a ‘bonus boost’ if they correctly predict the outcome of an event. Think of it as enhanced offers with way more choice for the customer. The betting operators have given great feedback.

Totally Gaming says: For those looking at how to pick up mass consumers with an interest in sports, the DiscountIF model holds a lot of appeal. The product promises a greater level of engagement with sports fans, so it’s no surprise that the company is aiming initially at sports clubs and companies which already have relationships in sports sponsorship, but the adaptability of the model shows it has appeal across other sectors, including betting and gaming.

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