OneComply completed the first stage of its journey when it was acquired by GeoComply. Co-Founder and General Manager Cameron Conn says the hard work has just begun.
GeoComply has been supportive of OneComply since before it was founded. GeoComply co-founder David Briggs introduced CEO Cameron Conn to his CTO and co-founder Aaron Gould. When Gould came up with the name for the company, Conn insisted they speak to Briggs to gain his blessing.
As strong believers in industry start-ups, it was duly granted, and GeoComply became one of OneComply’s very first clients. It liked the service so much that it ended up buying the company three years later.
“They saw what we did to help them scale their organization, centralizing a lot of information about the company and saving them a lot of time and money getting to market and remaining in market. They saw what we did for them, what we do for other companies in the industry, and what we could do for their clients,” says OneComply Co-Founder and General Manager Cameron Conn.
GeoComply completed the acquisition of licensing specialist OneComply in May this year for an undisclosed amount. It acquired a company of 15 employees and over 50 customers around the world. It has been a heady rise for a company that opened for business as recently as November 2019.
In a nutshell, OneComply simplifies the licensing process. It will collect all the data you need to complete your licensing application and then makes it easy to replicate that across numerous markets.
“Beyond that, OneComply centralizes hundreds of thousands of data points that are extremely valuable not only in the licensing and market entry process but ongoing operational compliance. Traditionally that data is lost once the licensing process is completed. We scale that data to help protect companies in perpetuity,” says Conn.
He explains that your licensing portfolio is a living entity that needs constant attention and care. OneComply provides automation and attention, communicating with employees to ensure that the company’s most valuable asset is not in jeopardy and can grow efficiently.
A family affair
Conn’s background in the gambling industry stretches back generations. His mother and grandfather, both American Gaming Association Hall of Famers, ran casino operations in Las Vegas, and Conn happily entered the family business. He knows the business inside-out, having worked in the design and the construction of brick-and-mortar casinos, various front-line casino positions, and as a casino operations executive. He is a passionate advocate for the industry.
Conn was born into the casino industry, but he also shares the family’s entrepreneurial genes, and after a while, he left the family business to launch his own company. His initial foray into responsible gambling software, while ahead of its time, did not get the traction Conn had hoped for. But Conn’s mind was still ticking through other ways he could help the industry he loves.
Conn understood the difficulties of licensing and getting into the market that all companies must do – particularly smaller ones. He had done it himself. He also understood that it is no easy task to remain compliant, seeing how often human error was the cause of compliance risk.
“I thought that there is a tremendous amount of liability, and within that liability lies an opportunity,” he explains. “I thought that we – the casino industry – were going to have to continue spending an enormous amount of money on full-time employees, or we were going to fail.”
When an operator, supplier or regulator fails, it creates headlines that place the entire industry at risk.
“Those black eyes spread from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Then you get knee-jerk regulation that makes it harder to operate, certainly from a multi-jurisdictional standpoint.”
This is the essence and the genesis of the big idea that became OneComply.
“Let’s start getting to market more efficiently,” continues Conn. “Let’s start centralizing what I call regulatory IP. This is your DNA. We need to be more engaged and more automated. Allow us to see smoke before fire. To protect patrons, to protect our employees, our companies, and ultimately to protect the industry.”
The building blocks of success
This was the moment Briggs stepped into his role as firestarter. He invited Conn and Gould, who did not know each other, to a weekend football match. The pair hit it off. Beers and golf followed, and when Conn was ready to launch OneComply, he convinced Gould to be his CTO.
When Gould built the OneComply proof of concept, he presented it to Briggs. A week later, Briggs said that GeoComply would use it.
However, Conn urged caution. While Briggs was supportive, Conn and Gould knew that he demands excellence. They did not think the OneComply product was ready. The pair humbly apologized to Briggs and refined the product until they were sure it was ready.
Soon enough, GeoComply was using the OneComply solution. Genius Sports and 888 would follow, along with over 50 other customers over the ensuing three years.
Conn attributes the company’s success to a laser focus on product and on customer service. Here, he drew on his experience of the legendary Vegas attitude to customer service in brick-and-mortar casinos and applied it to tech.
“My mantra is: ‘I want to treat every client like they’re sitting at a slot machine and they want to order a beer.’ They don’t want the beer tomorrow. They want the beer now,” he explains.
When a client sends him an email, Conn will drop everything to devote himself to solving the client’s needs. People are stressed and busy, and the last thing Conn wants is for OneComply to be the obstacle that stops the client from doing what it needs to do.
“I think that bought us a lot of good graces with our clients. To this day, we continue to receive emails from clients telling us how unbelievable it is how quickly we respond to their queries.”
Into the future
After being acquired by GeoComply, it has been business as usual for Conn, Gould and their team. However, they now do it with greater support and an increased target list of potential clients.
Beyond that, Conn sees the union as a meeting of minds.
“GeoComply cares about protecting the industry and providing solutions that protect the industry. And that’s what we care about.”
Conn believes there is a tremendous opportunity to centralize technologies that have previously been siloed. He repeats his other mantra. He wants to use the data available to ensure his customers can see the smoke before the fire.