Betting shop William Hill has decided to gamble on London and Tel Aviv startups. Initially the company is backing eight startups to the tune of £25,000 plus 12 weeks of support and office space in either city. The new venture will be known as WHLabs, an accelerator run in partnership with L Marks, an investment fund provided by technology entrepreneur Stuart Marks.
The purpose of WHLabs is to identify and develop technology innovations for the gambling and gaming industry to satisfy customers’ needs.
Betting on favourites
The 12-week accelerator programme will run from September to December at William Hill’s innovation hub in Shoreditch in London and its marketing services hub in Tel Aviv in Israel. Applications opened on 24 June for startups to any stage of development and will close on 26 July.
The selected companies will be given access to William Hill’s APIs, mentorship from William Hill experts and third-party entrepreneurs and the opportunity to win up to £150,000 of further investment. There will also be an “exchange week” between the Shoreditch and Tel Aviv digital offices.
Gibraltar-based Andy Lee (pictured), managing director of William Hill Online, said, “Our industry is ripe for further disruption and through our WHLabs accelerator we will nurture the next generation of technology startups, while helping ensure we remain at the cutting-edge of omni-channel change.”
Applicants have been invited to apply for a place on the accelerator course in six categories: Thrill of the Ride, Omnichannel, Technical Efficiencies, Player Funnel, New Products, and a final catch-all category labelled as Surprise Us.
The Thrill of the Ride six defined new technology to enhance the customer experience from placing a bet through to the final settlement to give it more entertainment value. Omnichannel six defined ways multiple communications channels can be combined with William Hill’s assets to offer customers access to manage their betting however and whenever they want. Technical Efficiencies will examine Big Data applications to improve how the company handles its transactions, the volatility of pricing and the multitude of data feeds that are now available. Player Funnel concerns developing breakthrough technologies in the Pay Per Click, social media, segmentation, business intelligence, CRM, and the loyalty and responsible gaming fields.
The New Products and Surprise Us categories are less well-defined and appear to have been included to encompass innovation and inventiveness that is beyond William Hill’s current thinking.
The selected companies and groups will compete to win up to £150,000 of further investment under a contract with William Hill. The successful team will be announced in the New Year.