A decade ago, financial analyst Chris Carlson started developing software tools he could use to profit off the emerging world of online gambling.
A lot of has changed since then, as Internet gambling has evolved and expanded into it’s own sector of tech dubbed ‘iGaming’ to include virtual sports betting, lottos and many genres of poker.
Despite stigmas, scrutiny and enough regulatory risk to deter many investors, the global market for fee-based igaming has quadrupled from $10b in 2004 to $40b in 2015, seeing a steady 10% annual growth rate.
Throughout that time, Carlson’s offspring, FourCubed as it would come to be called, has rolled with the punches, matured and diversifed.
In March, Jim Olson (left) swapped seats at the table with Carlson and became President with $2m fresh cash in hand courtesy Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures.
“The net of all it is that things do move slow stateside,” Olson says, “…but internationally, especially in Europe, there’s a lot of action and that’s what really excited me about this opportunity.”
As such, Olson is is doubling down on FourCubed’s future with a strategy based on core technology, globalization, and acquisition — a practice he learned first through the Thomson-West $3.4b merger in 1996 and more recently refined in 2010 when CEB purchased Iconoculture for $18m+.
“Moving forward, we are exclicitly pursuing rollups in a way that doesn’t predicate growth on the US landscape.”
FourCubed isn’t a pure-play Internet gaming company, what they do is drive traffic to those who are. It’s primarily done using an affiliate network product (pas.net) that faciliates campaign management for the advertisers and publishers who serve as lead generation for gaming site operators.
Olson says that upwards of 80% of his firm’s revenue is currently sourced here, with the remainder via direct to consumer retail sites like PokerAffiliateListings.com and YourPokerCash.com, domains Carlson established early on.
“Our vision is to become a larger global player for driving traffic worldwide. It’s currently a fragmented space in which we ultimately see a $10-$12b opportunity at stake.”
In addition to prior asset acquisitions, FourCubed picked up New York poker training site DuecesCracked last month as a complementary content play.
“Dueces has yet to realize it’s full monetization potential, plus there’s lots of cross-pollination possible,” Olson says of the strategic motive.
FourCubed claims a dozen full time employees in Northeast, with three remote now as part of the Dueces deal. Headcount is down from a few years ago as the company made the Inc. 5,000 in 2011 with 19 employees and $10m+ revenue.
FourCubed was hit hard in 2012 when the US federal government cracked down on offshore gaming, an event known to insiders as “Black Friday.” While many when under, FourCubed managed to cut back but holding its ground, though Olson declined to provide updated revenue figures.
Since that bottoming-out, the company has stacked their deck with local investors/advisors Rick Brimacomb, Daren Cotter and Sven Wehrwein to bring insight and experience to the grand plan of reaching beyond poker into the daily fantasy sports market.
“We’re coming back strong with the vision, resources and appetite to win.”