In recent years, Athens, Greece, has become the location for the largest development center and the major global hub for OpenBet, a leading global player in sportsbook technology, content and services. Business Partners reached out to Nikos Konstakis, Vice President of OpenBet and Managing Director of OpenBet’s Athens operation, to talk about innovation, entrepreneurship and how he has realized his vision to establish the Athens hub as the company’s largest development center in the world.
Since its establishment in 2015, OpenBet Athens has grown to become a technology hub of more than 400 people, working and innovating on global projects for the company. This growth has been consistent in recent years, even during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, when OpenBet Athens created over one hundred new jobs.
Digital transformation is a matter of survival, rather than just a simple technology upgrade
“Entrepreneurship in Greece, in recent years, has been showing encouraging signs of sustainable growth, with opportunities present for technology and innovation” explains Konstakis, who, drawing on his international outlook and experience, has managed to create an excellent working environment in Greece. As a result, the company is growing, improving and leading the industry, and creating significant added value for Greek society and the Greek economy.
OpenBet has made a significant investment in Greece. What are the reasons that the company chose Greece and what does the future hold?
The presence of OpenBet in Greece is a combination of a personal vision and a strategic choice for the company. At a critical time for the company’s activities in Europe, Athens was in the running to become a European hub, along with several other European cities. Our strategic planning took into account a set of parameters related to the country’s business environment, its development outlook, Greece’s position as a technology hub connecting the wider SE Europe region, as well as the local human resources quality and potential. Athens, since then, has become the largest development center for the company.
Our investment to create new jobs for specialized personnel sends a clear signal to international companies that Greece is indeed an attractive investment destination. At the same time, our presence in Greece is a case study for business expansion on a global scale. This expansion is not just related to our business goals but also to the development of our potential by investing in our people.
OpenBet develops state-of-the-art technology. Tell us more about that. What role do you believe that innovation and technology will play in the development of Greece?
In an era of intense competition and rapid technological developments, companies must implement a growth plan leveraging innovation and digital technology in order to maintain a competitive advantage. The restart of the Greek economy should be digital and begin with innovation and cutting-edge technology. The country needs to be able to make the most of its key competitive advantages and become an attractive destination for direct foreign investments in technology.
As for OpenBet, we are a business-to-business (B2B) company that produces and offers cutting-edge technology platforms and services. We design technological platforms that stand out for their security and reliability, as well as for the excellent user experience featuring user-friendly, easy to use interfaces.
Greece is at a critical juncture for growth, with a business environment still plagued by legacy issues. What are some of the key issues that you think must be addressed in order to facilitate business?
The next significant challenge for Greece and therefore for the companies operating in the country is the recovery from the global recession caused by the pandemic. The opportunity here for Greece has to do with adopting a sustainable and competitive production model, which could mean the restart of the economy. Bold but necessary reforms are needed to lead the country on a strong development path, which in turn creates opportunities for attracting foreign investments needed for growth.
In this context, the modernization of the public administration and the adoption of a business-friendly tax policy should be among the main priorities of the country’s reform program. In order for Greece to be at the center of developments, it needs a modern state and an efficient public administration capable of implementing public policy with consistency.
At the same time, digital transformation has emerged as a top business priority, which is undoubtedly a huge challenge. It’s a matter of survival, rather than just a simple technology upgrade. It is technology together with human resources that determines the ability of the company to increase productivity and offer innovative solutions, so it can remain competitive.
You mentioned that OpenBet invests in its people. What do you believe should be the link between education and business? In connecting with educational institutions in the context of staffing, what issues have you identified and how do you think these can be mitigated?
At OpenBet, developing our people is a top priority. We operate in a highly competitive environment where knowledge and skills are required to reach and remain at the highest level. In this context, our connection to the education process becomes an important factor for our success.
As far as how to better connect education to business, the answer is to develop knowledge and skills in the context of the 4th Industrial Revolution that can be practically applied to satisfy business needs.
Companies can benefit greatly from the integration of human resources that aside from being ready to suit their immediate needs, also have the background and the capacity to be further trained, acquiring and improving new knowledge and skills. New hires must have the opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge in practice to acquire the necessary technical knowledge and skills, but also what we at OpenBet define as “power skills.” These have to do with communication, teamwork, self-confidence, self-knowledge and self-motivation. Developing these skills leads to better performance, more desirable career paths, and ultimately, job satisfaction, which is what we want most for our people.