It was a big year for Xpoint, but as Xpoint Co-Founder and CPO Ben Cheeseman will assure you the company is just getting started. Cheeseman spoke with SBC Americas about the company’s successful launches, which markets the company is seeking to enter next, and what to expect in 2023.
SBCA: Can you begin by walking us through some of the major milestones from 2022?
Cheeseman: We now have a roster of iGaming, sportsbook, and DFS partners live in-market across North America as we launched our geolocation products for the first time earlier this year. To see us accelerate and go live in a market within eight months is phenomenal. Officially launching means that Xpoint has unveiled several exciting partnerships that will enable even greater expansion as a leading geolocation provider.
The sports betting and fantasy football craze has come back in full swing with the official start of the NFL, and it has been an incredibly exciting time for our partners as we track their users’ geolocation checks. For us, that’s amazing. We’re establishing a large amount of data, we’re getting a lot of information from those partners, and we’re proving that we can work across the US and Canada. Xpoint has no intention of slowing down and we will continue to provide geolocation services for more, yet-to-be-announced clients, and venture out further into North America and beyond.
SBCA: Have there been any stand-out moments for you, personally?
Cheeseman: Seeing our geolocation products, Verify for real-money gaming operators and Lite for fantasy sports products, live in the market for the very first time was incredibly exciting. As a concept we had begun talking about in 2019, it was wonderful to receive all the support and positive feedback from the industry. Our products shifted the view of geo-compliance in the market past only regulatory obligations into a world where we can deliver enhanced value through the generation of location-based data that can drive marketing programs for our partners. We wanted to take our geolocation products a step further by combining the digital and physical world by moving geo-verification past just an essential utility into a new business opportunity, and we truly have accomplished that.
SBCA: We’ve seen you go live with Xpoint Verify and Xpoint Lite this year – how has this been received by partners so far?
Cheeseman: We are focused on growing our partnerships and products in parallel, which is why we pride ourselves on being deeply embedded, trusted partners. Our partners are keen to see innovation in the geolocation space, and the response to what we offer has been overwhelmingly positive. To be just the second incumbent into a monopolized market is not just an exciting time for Xpoint, it’s an exciting time for operators in the North American iGaming industry because they now, finally, have a choice.
Location-based data and location-based fraud detection aren’t things that are heavily utilized in the market at this point, and it’s something that we recognize as a real opportunity and advantage for us. We offer providers more data points that can be used to detect fraud—more data than other major U.S. geo-verification services. We’re also constantly evolving as we expand our North American footprint, building more tools and systems specifically designed to help our partners utilize their location-based data for fraud analysis. Additionally, unlike with other services, our partners can pipe Xpoint’s data directly into their own database, allowing them to pull together all the information they need to conduct analysis and identify fraud.
SBCA: What would you say have been the key learnings from this year? And how will these help to shape your strategy for 2023?
Cheeseman: Our operators’ largest need is to ensure the players can get approved by geolocation fast and with minimum friction. We understand it must be the most frustrating situation if the geo-verification is not or is struggling to approve the user.
The key learnings are to fully understand the operator and consumer needs and put them first in the roadmap. We truly believe in the conversation of geolocation utility and unlocking its true potential. We aspire to be invisible and just work while we break down the operator’s understanding of its players with the best add value to its business.
SBCA: Are there any particular markets that we can see you expanding into in the next few months?
Cheeseman: One of the fastest-growing markets in recent years has been Latin America, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. Providers are starting to appreciate just how significant the market is, and this has been a significant area of focus for Xpoint too.
That’s why, in addition to further expansion in North America, we have set our sights firmly on the predicted next “gambling powerhouse”. We are actively expanding and recruiting for numerous roles across our business in South America and are planning to open our fourth office in Colombia. We’ve set our sights first on countries like Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina, as online sports betting is already operational in those areas. Looking a bit ahead, we’re already in talks with providers about forming partnerships in Puerto Rico once online sports betting is legalized.
SBCA: How important has the funding from Acies been in driving Xpoint’s growth in 2022? And what can we expect from the company in the next 12 months?
Cheeseman: The business has been backed by some incredibly influential people in the gaming industry that share our belief in Xpoint’s exciting future. That, to me, is hugely flattering. This year we welcomed three new investors: Acies Investments, The Raine Group, and SuRo Capital Sports, who joined our existing investors, Bettor Capital and Courtside Ventures. Their wealth of contacts, along with their ability to give us inroads into other, larger clients, has been a door-opening game-changer for us. They’re showing that they’re trusting in what we do and see a real value in the market for a second option in geolocation. Our push from the start has always been for strategic investments, not just for the money, and these guys are second-to-none in our marketplace. They have strong backgrounds and portfolios, and they’ve chosen Xpoint to be right at the forefront, which is super exciting.
I think the next 12 months are going to be huge for Xpoint. We are now a credible secondary source of geolocation in the market, and we’re talking to several large Tier one providers in the field. Now, our focus is on building our market share and improving our product with live data from our partners. Data is key, and we’ve always believed that. We have some exciting partnerships to announce in the coming weeks and months, more news on our product, and the overall growth of our business. We’re here to stay, as it were.
SBCA: Where do you see the geolocation space heading in the next 12 months? And where does Xpoint fit into this?
Cheeseman: We see the biggest value is sharing data and giving an understanding of the player to the needs of the operator. Geolocation check is such an important part of the user play BUT we need to be silent while unlocking its value. The physical world and digital come together and enable us to unlock the true potential of geolocation, fraud, marketing, and customer understanding.
We will continue to work with our operators to fully understand business needs to help move the dial for business questions. We’re also building more tools and systems specifically designed to help our partners utilize their location-based data for fraud analysis and micro-geofencing services as the industry evolves.