Milo Borisov and Rossi McKee have changed the Bulgarian and the global gaming industry. And they are planning to list the company on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange.
To rank it among the biggest European and world names in the online gaming business is a vision that both Milo Borisov and his sister Rossi McKee have shared when thinking of the development of their company – Telematic Interactive Bulgaria. “Our ambition is that within the next five years the company must rub shoulders with the ten largest companies in the online gaming industry in Europe, and in ten years time – worldwide”, the entrepreneurs said when welcoming the Forbes team to the sun-drenched oval conference room in their Sofia office. The walls are covered by dozens of licenses and prizes surrounding an elegant globe placed in the middle of a huge desk. “The globe reminds us that we need to look far beyond the horizon”, explains Rossi McKee, a major shareholder in Telematic Interactive Bulgaria.
Our mid-November meeting with them comes at a time when Telematic Interactive Bulgaria is preparing to get listed on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange. The initial public offering should be opened by the end of January 2022 and it will be one of the most important episodes in Milo Borisov and Rossi McKee`s business background. “We have always sought transparency in our business. Going public will increase our credibility among the market participants but it will also give us new opportunities to enter more foreign markets” says Milo Borissov, the other major shareholder in Telematic Interactive Bulgaria.
A symbiosis of technology and art
Business started in the 1990`s when still a student at Sofia`s Machines and Electrotechnical Institute (now called the Technical University) in the specialty of Manufacturing automation with a profile in IT, together with his father, Milo Borisov started his first company which was to build computer networks. “I remember climbing walls and mounting roof antennas on the buildings” recollects Borisov with a smile.
At the same time this entrepreneur, who from a young age played the piano and later became involved in jazz and rock bands, began to think of a business which might combine technology and art. The gambling industry was on the rise in those days, and to Milo Borisov it embodied an ideal symbiosis between his passion – music and the fine arts – and technology. The choice was made and he began to create games which quickly became popular first in Bulgaria and not long after – abroad.
Milo Borisov invested a lot of time and many ideas in this endeavor which was new to him and managed to convince his sister Rossi to join in. Being a doctor of medicine /she was a graduate of the Sofia Medical University/ and – respectively – far from the corporate world as her high school education had given her a humanitarian orientation, the freedom to look for and express various ideas and an overall development gave her a very broad outlook and an innovative approach to the surrounding world.
The first few months of working together with her brother made her experience a kind of a shock from moving from medicine to technology. “It was a turning point in my life. The gaming industry includes many different activities and perhaps that`s what its charm is all about. In addition to technology, there is also the arts and many other challenges that one has to meet and overcome. What I most liked was the need of innovation”, says Rossi McKee.
Milo Borisov is the author of many of the games. “I have had ideas popping up in my head even when I was on the road. During a long plane trip, for instance, a concept for a new game came to my mind and after landing I sent it to the team to work on it and make it happen. Currently, this game is being offered as one of the truly successful products which is very well accepted by our customers”, says Milo Borisov.
Milo Borisov and his sister decided to expand the business. “We were one of the first companies in this industry to break through and make a name for Bulgaria abroad in many places on the gaming industry map”, says Rossi McKee.
The two entrepreneurs then headed off to South and North America. To be close to the business, Rossi McKee went on to reside overseas and she now runs the offices in this part of the world. “Our representative office in Peru is among the most successful and it offers solutions which fully meet the tastes of Peruvian users. The market share held by our company is constantly increasing”, explains Milo Borisov.
Consensus and dialogue
The siblings do not forget to emphasize that “People are the most important part of our success”. They invest heavily in the development of talents in the company by organizing periodic training, qualification courses and everything else necessary to provide a basis for unleashing the potential of the people in the various work teams.
Constantly on the lookout for new and creative people who are able to generate different and interesting content, the two entrepreneurs insist that “Our model of management is based on consensus and dialog. We give our teams a lot of creative and decision-making freedom which – considering the Bulgarian environment – is still rare due to the prevailing micromanagement model which limits freedom and restricts motivation. There are a lot of highly talented people and they should be given the opportunity to show what they are capable of. We motivate our teams to be creative in their work and to give new ideas”.
Expansion and digitalization
With a stable team already in place, in 2012 Milo Borisov began to see the ever growing potential of the online industry. After having created a number of his own games, he decided to collect and upload them on a remote online server thus coming up with a virtual library containing his own games which are then being provided to the online casinos which, in those days, had just began to gain considerable momentum around the globe. Thus, the Bulgarian company turned out to be among the pioneers in this new business sphere.
And so in 2014 Telematic Interactive Bulgaria was born. Today, the company unites the entire online business which has developed in two major directions: the subsidiary CT Interactive which is focused on b2b, and the Palms Bet brand – on b2c.
During the years that followed the technology team grew significantly while the business-to-business division literally exploded. Currently, the remote game server, RGЅ, via which the online operators are provided with the company`s own gaming content to, contains more than 200 titles.
The business model is simple and straightforward and RGЅ has dozens of integrations with different platforms and direct integrations with online casinos. The server is web-based and requests reach the customers in no time at all. CT Interactive collects a certain percentage of the profit from the operation of the products. Th business provides a great opportunity for expansion and it has already become global. By the present point in time the company’s gaming content is available to over 700 online operators in Latin America, Europe and Africa.
The other business offered to end users and run by Telematic Interactive Bulgaria is the online casino operating on the territory of Bulgaria. In 2018 the company obtained a license for sports betting and was rebranded to Palms Bet. With the help of a well-designed marketing campaign and a good product, the business had a flying start. In 2020, the company reported a revenue growth of 517% compared to 2019 and expectations for this year show a value of around 160%. “Palms Bet actually jumped off from a ready-made platform which gave us a competitive edge and which was additionally boosted by the pandemic and the price drops of mobile devices, both contributing to the rapid growth of our business”, concludes Milo Borissov.
Telematic Interactive Bulgaria is developing a joint venture with the largest German company operating in the gaming industry – Mercure. Their latest project is to be realized in the Grand Hotel Millenium Sofia – Palms Mercure Royal, where together, the partners are building a large entertainment complex.
The objective: Bulgarian talents
In addition to business development, Milo Borisov and Rossi McKee believe that talented Bulgarians should get their chance and develop.
They support various causes. Telematic Interactive Bulgaria has a special social fund, through which the company sponsors PFC Levski, supports the “Golden girls” rhythmic gymnastics team and their benefit performances, supports various events in the cultural sphere and environmental protection.
“Bulgaria has a lot to give to the world. Bulgarians are smart, talented and gifted people and we need to build their awareness and self-confidence that they can create truly valuable things. Over the years we have been able to turn a tiny garage-type company into a major player and position Bulgaria on the global gaming industry map! Indeed, we believe that this can be achieved in any other sector. Bulgarians deserve to be invested in and this is why we invest heavily in the development of our personnel and in our work teams so that all of these people will have the desire to stay and work in Bulgaria and to create World level products”, conclude the two entrepreneurs.