´Ikigai Ventures has a great future ahead of it´
(Malta, SoloAzar Exclusive).- Eman Pulis, SiGMA Group Founder, granted an interview to SoloAzar about the latest SIGMA show held in Malta. He also told us about Ikigai Ventures, a group of industry insiders, builders and operators that help bring investors and startups in igaming closer.
How have you managed to organize SIGMA as a virtual show? What were the main challenges you had to face?
We held several virtual events last year. We felt it was important for the industry to come together in the face of shared difficulties, to discuss the future of the industry and to offer support to those who had been affected by the ongoing health pandemic. Of course, an online event is no substitute for face-to-face, which is why, both in May when we successfully launched our AIBC and AGS summit in Dubai, and Malta Week this November, we were excited to be able to bring our colleagues together for a much-needed event following two difficult years for the sector.
What were the main features of the latest event?
Malta Week was a first for us, and one of our biggest in-person events yet - where we brought three verticals together under one roof for an incredible week of networking, discussion, and exhibition. We had some great speakers lined up for our conference stages; including John Karony, Akon, Nolan Bushnell, and Mark Blandford - I believe some of the onstage debates continued long into the night at some of our evening networking events.
Our expo floor also had a great vibe, our exhibitors really went all out this year with some of the most impressive stands we’ve seen, many of which had interactive features - such as a life-sized VR racing car. There was also an esports tournament happening live from the floor - another first for us, which made for a pretty great atmosphere.
What were the highlights of the show and the main issues treated at the conferences?
Our panels looked at everything from regulation and compliance to crypto adoption and blockchain technologies powering the future. We also delved into issues such as cybercrime and the transformation of economies through smart contracts.
Additionally we held a masterclass focusing on the North American markets and a series of workshops dedicated to women in gaming.
Naturally, with three events happening simultaneously and an increased appetite for the show from a global guestlist, SiGMA has long since outgrown the original MFCC venue space. As a result we ended up building a brand new tent from scratch to accommodate the interest.
What can you tell us about the expo floor and the networking opportunities that the event offered to the attendees?
The expo floor was unique this year in that it brought together exhibitors, suppliers, and investors from multiple verticals. The cross-pollination opportunities meant that our attendees were able to explore a diversity of new niches while benefiting from a larger networking pool.
In addition to networking during the summit, whether on the expo floor, or at one of our industry award galas, we made sure there were plenty of activities happening around the summit - from day time friendly-competitive sporting events, such as padel and football tourneys to iGathering dinners at some of Malta’s most impressive venues.
Eman Pulis, you are also part of Ikigai Ventures, a group of industry insiders, builders and operators that gathered to help others create and scale transformative companies. Can you tell us about your mission and your main aims and goals?
We’re committed to supporting bright ideas worldwide - currently we’re focussing our efforts on global investments in high growth verticals such as gaming, betting, esports, mobility, blockchain, AI, and other frontier technologies.
A decade in this industry means I have had the privilege of watching and helping many startups launch and grow, especially through the SiGMA Startup Pitch and Village. This is the next chapter of that journey, and I’m really excited to embark on it. Ikigai Ventures has a great future ahead of it.
How will Ikigai Ventures help bring investors and startups in igaming closer?
Thanks to years of conferences, I’ve been blessed with a global network of highly successful investors, entrepreneurs, and legal minds, many of whom are interested in being involved in this fund in some capacity, and so I hope to leverage this to ensure startups have the best resources available to them as they continue to write their success stories.