Success Story of Singular: from communication company to tech center of Flutter

“The story of Singular began when we decided it was the time…,” Giorgi Shamugia, co-founder and CEO of Singular, begins his conversation with us. The story of two friends, filled with exciting challenges, has also reached the pages of our Success Story column.

It all started in 2010 with a small office in Georgia. Giorgi Shamugia and Akaki Meladze launched Singular as a communications company that eventually grew into a tech center of the Flutter Group – the world’s largest online gaming company with operations in over 100 global markets. 

The group includes top-tier brands like PokerStars, PaddyPower, FanDuel, Betfair, Adjarabet, and many others. Last year, Flutter acquired 100% of shares in Singular.

Offices in three countries, clients from almost all continents, and the status of a member of one of the largest international groups are the success points of Singular. The company stands out in the industry with its software solutions, a unique modular and multi-vertical architecture.

Today Singular is a growing, successful company and an international brand. Since its first day, it has been focused on innovation and high technology, while at the same time creating a unique working environment for its team. The company believes that one is impossible without the other. That is why they are constantly trying to innovate and improve not only the product but also internal processes and external communication strategies.

These days, only an organisation which is constantly developing will be able to survive and grow. Due to the changing environment, systems and visions quickly become outdated and irrelevant, therefore can no longer respond to internal or external challenges. Singular proved to be the perfect example of how a business, at the cost of the greatest risk, can meet important challenges, pivot and become an exponentially growing entity.

In its first year of operations, Singular has made experiments and tested the market. The company launched many projects in terms of telecommunications and social media, as it considered these areas to be quite new for Georgia.

However, the time and place were not right for them – although the market had started to develop, it was not yet ready for these innovations. Therefore, the team decided to change the focus and switched to social games, which were very popular on Facebook back then.

Social games brought the first success to the company. However, Shamugia considers cooperation with the Bank of Georgia (a company listed on the London Stock Exchange and is the market leader in Georgia) to be the most significant partner on the way to final success of the company. Within the partnership, in 2011 Singular created the first mobile banking in Georgia.

“Despite the fact that back then we already had larger partners and projects which brought us international awards, the Bank of Georgia specifically was the one which gave us the major boost.”

Bank of Georgia was a prestigious partner that paved the way for new contracts. In 2011 Georgia also started the online gambling market legalization and it was at this time that Singular started cooperation with Adjarabet. The companies established strategic partnership and initiated a new era in Georgian iGaming sector.

Adjarabet itself has always held a leading position in the gambling market, but 10 years ago, when it only had a strong retail presence and just received a new online license, it started to think about online expansion. Singular was the very company that brought Adjarabet online and which still holds a leading position to this day.

It is worth mentioning that iGaming was a new area for Singular as well. The company suspended all current contracts at that point and made a risky move to focus entirely on iGaming.  

“We started researching and saw that the industry is heavily dependent on technology: product management, transactions – everything was very close to banking, where we already had huge experience. It so happened that all our previous experiences converged in this one industry.” 

While exploring iGaming, Singular faced its first major challenges. Shamugia noted in a conversation with us that the lack of talent in Georgia was a serious issue back at that time: “Georgian market was small and developing, it was difficult to find the necessary IT talents.”

To resolve the issue, the company decided to use all available resources to respond to specific challenges. Then Singular made a bet on its main strategy – to turn the Georgian company into an international one.

They approached the Macedonian Darko Gacov with an interesting offer, who at that time moved to Georgia and was part of Adjarabet’s C Suite. According to Shamugia, Darko linked his future with Singular and joined the company as VP of Business Development. This is where Singular’s transformation into an international company begins. 

In Macedonia, Darko’s homeland it was much easier for Singular to find the necessary talents and open an office. Subsequently, the company also opened another office in Malta, where its headquarters moved later to facilitate legal processes. 

This news was followed by numerous successes, participation in international conferences, and new partners – now they have more than 25 clients on almost every continent.

Speaking about the most interesting and attractive markets, Shamugia noted about their first steps in the United States. According to him, they started to focus on the US market, when the process of online gambling legalization was actively discussed there. After securing the first partners they decided to open an office, and thus began to look for investors. Flutter among others expressed interest.

The negotiations lasted for several years, the conditions, the size of investments, and the cost of investments were constantly changing, but as a result, Flutter completed the acquisition of 100% of shares in the Georgian company at the end of 2021.

Shamugia notes that after clarifying the main issues of the contract, the negotiation process went much faster since Flutter was not interested in their customers, but in the company’s technologies. 

“What attracted them most was the time it takes for Singular to enter new markets. Usually, other companies deal with it within two or three years, but for us, it takes about six months. Additionally, we needed less money for that.”

Technology, innovation, and long-term vision all are of the ultimate importance, but Singular considers its team to be the main and irreplaceable asset. From day one, the company wanted to create an environment where they would enjoy the working process themselves. Then it became part of the corporate strategy, which helped to attract and retain talent. Unlike many tech organizations, Singular employees have five to eight years of experience with the company.

Singular also tries to be honest with both its team and partners. Even in the most critical periods, the management of the company did not hide anything.

“Our team knows that Singular does care about them, and, in a certain sense, their interests are more important than even the company’s development. Likewise, our partners are not just clients, we share their values and help solve their problems. The main thing is to take care of them, even the quality of the product can fade into the background.”

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