I would class this year as a continuation of the foundational phase of the business. Different from previous ones in its increased size and ambition, yet similar in that it revolves around team, products, and customers.
We haven’t blinked as the team has doubled in headcount to 45 amazing people, seamlessly transitioning to a new office in the hyper-cool east end of London.
Our AI platform, Anthemetrics, continues to scale, swallowing a big bite of Cheltenham in real-time for the first time this year, as we pushed our machine learning models successfully into the sports betting sphere.
Player reactions to our AI-driven recommendations continue to be positive too, with session NGR increases of 10% and 3x normal engagement rates. We expanded into the Americas with our first customer launches in America and Canada. Our AI has also been extended across the player journey. We can now personalise media buying too, with a technology that is exciting, new, and unseen anywhere in the industry.
There were way more highs than lows, but, of course, not everything panned out as hoped or expected.
We have exciting plans to create additional insights on the data that we receive from our customers but had to shelve them for a period. One of our internal system upgrades didn’t pan out to be an upgrade, but more like a downgrade. And we continue to have challenges with our R&D tax credits despite investing millions of pounds in innovation and AI.
But these have been minor blips on a very enjoyable and productive period; besides it's always healthy to look back and learn as the basis for future improvements.
Often with wonder, amazement, and awe, at the end of this year, I ask myself what is the secret to our success and how have we created this environment? What have I learnt this year, from the good and the bad? Below you’ll find some of my reflections as we transition to 2024 and beyond:
- Look straight ahead, enjoy the journey. Once you’ve set the path, try not to deviate and stay true to your goals. It’s hard work and might feel a bit slow at times, so smile along the way as you achieve your milestones.
- Always try to hire smart people. Never far from #1 on my list. Everywhere I look at Anthem, I encounter people who are intelligent, committed, engaged, and kind, with high levels of integrity. It starts with the leadership, and persists throughout the organisation, acting like a magnet for new joiners.
- We’re all equals. Treat everyone the same, talk to each other as you would your peer group – it breeds respect, honesty, and empathy across the team. We don’t tolerate negativity. There’s too much in the world already.
- Don’t rush. Almost every time we’ve taken a fast decision without enough reflection, we’ve made a mistake. Fortunately, none are significant, though each disappointing. Take your time – it’s unnecessary work to unwind your errors.
- Be thankful. It’s a tough world out there, with awful world events happening around us regularly. Anthem has a great team, customer group, and investor base which we always appreciate.
- Be considered. We all work differently and not always in the same hours. Think before sending emails on weekends or at night – everyone needs their space.
- First impressions count. Our product marketing has kicked on massively this year and I’m very proud of how we present ourselves to external stakeholders. We’re finally getting to where I want us to be.
- Don’t run blind. I thought I knew which of our AI modules were profitable and which still required investment, though it wasn’t until we did the analysis that I saw the true picture, which was starker than I expected. The results made us make key decisions that are now improving our margins significantly.
- Have a lot of stamina. Growing an innovation company from scratch is a massive undertaking, so stay fit and healthy as you’ll need energy and resilience.
- Never settle for second best. Be bold, take action to address under-performance in your activities and team. Don’t accept mediocrity – it costs more than you think.
- Small things count. One of my team members recently bought me a gift back from their trip to India which made me feel so special, just like when we celebrated Diwali. These are the moments to savour. Don’t forget to reciprocate.
CEO and Founder