Adrian Vella, CEO of Tipico, a global sports betting and iGaming operator, claimed that he always had an entrepreneurial spirit in him. It was for that reason that he took some risks, moved countries and eventually took on the role of CEO.
In an interview with Entrepreneur, Mr Vella explained that one of his biggest challenges was moving from Malta to London. Ever since he was young, he envisioned “something bigger” for him that went beyond one of the smallest European countries. He lived in many countries across Europe, from the United Kingdom to Switzerland.
“It was a leap of faith, and at the time it was impossible to feel fully convinced I was doing the right thing. But I realised having this appetite for risk and making the necessary sacrifices would change my life,” he explained.
After experiencing different roles in the iGaming and business industry he moved to Tipico in 2014. He relocated to the United States in 2019, to spearhead the launch of the Tipico US platform.”
Asked how he transformed his biggest challenge into an asset, he said that he overcame his uncertainty by embracing discomfort, building strong working relationships, creating “some semblance” of work-life balance and convincing himself that the big move was his purpose.
“All my past experiences helped me transition and prepare for my new life in the US. This is a completely new culture and business landscape, but I’m adapting well,” Mr Vella added.
Ultimately, to Mr Vella, taking risks, being an innovator, having the ability to solve problems and being a passionate individual with an idea who wants to drive it forward and present it to the world, are characteristics that encompass an entrepreneur.
“It is not for everyone,” Mr Vella commented. Nonetheless, he added that for one to be an entrepreneur, one has to have thick skin and the ability to embrace failure and work through the ups and downs.
‘We are the only online casino and sportsbook in the US market that has built its proprietary greenfield tech stack from scratch’
Since its initial launch in New Jersey, Tipico has been active in four states, taking a hyperlocal approach to drive first-time platform deposits and establish long-term customer loyalty. “We are the only online casino and sportsbook in the US market that has built its proprietary greenfield tech stack from scratch,” he explained.
Mr Vella described himself as a proactive individual who thrives on continuous learning and nurtures “an unyielding sense of curiosity.” However, he argued that the true value of knowledge is unlocked when it is coupled with action.
Tipico, he explained, has seen “years of success and market share growth” in Europe but it did not stagnate.
He added that the company took all it learned and brought it to the booming, crowded US market. “Our perspectives remain futile unless we transform them into tangible outcomes through the process of learning from our failures, and most importantly, taking purposeful actions based on that knowledge. At work and in my personal life, the only regrets I have are from the times when I didn’t put things into action – when I didn’t go for it,” he declared.
Asked what advice he would give to entrepreneurs looking for funding, Mr Vella stated that over the years he has seen many aspiring business owners who were convinced that they needed to start with an enormous sum of money for security and to back them up. However, he expressed his belief that it could have been easier if they started putting something into the market in an agile way.
“I also see people with so much potential to be great, and a desire to put their ideas out in the world, but they never do because they assume an incredible idea will just hit them like a lightning bolt. This is rarely how the journey manifests itself,” he stated. Mr Vella added that failure is part of the process, and he encouraged aspiring business owners who are on the fence about taking the leap to think less and do more.
Further sharing his wisdom with the business world, Mr Vella also suggested that start-ups looking for funding from investors should emphasise the exact problem that the company is solving and what aspect of society it is improving. In addition he suggested to highlight the company’s niche and why it is different from the rest.
“Know your numbers – your revenue and growth and P&L figures – like the back of your hand. If you are in your early pre-launch stage, give investors something they can feel and experience in your product or service, like a prototype or beta version,” CEO Adrian Vella concluded.
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