OulalaGames Ltd

Why are you based in Malta?

I’ve now been in Malta for 11 years. In 2005 I left France and moved to Malta in order to embark on a new adventure. I became the Marketing Manager and shareholder of a team aiming to launch ZEturf, the first competitor to the French horse racing monopoly.

Our decision to go with Malta as the base for ZEturf proved to be an excellent one when Malta strongly supported our cause and backed us up.

What things are there about Malta that make you operate here?

In 2012, I met Benjamin Carlotti, co-founder and Managing Director of OulalaGames, who introduced me to the concept of fantasy sports, and soon after we decided to create Oulala. Malta was the logical choice without a shred of doubt. The break-even point of Oulala would have been three-and-a-half times higher in France.

However, the financial aspect wasn't the sole reason for this decision. Malta is an English-speaking country, a member of the European Union and only a few hours away from any major European city. Most importantly, Malta has the most efficient pro-business environment that I have ever seen.

Launching a start-up is a very risky challenge and it is essential that your energy is not wasted on, for instance, administrative Kafkaesque issues. Over here, my mind is free to focus only on what matters the most for my company, which is priceless.

Can you give us an example of where Malta’s i-gaming set-up has helped your business?

One thing I have observed in Malta is how carefully supported start-ups are, with the help of numerous business incentives specifically implemented to aid them: Malta Enterprise, Takeoff business incubator Malta Communications Authority, to mention but a few. Within just a few years, Malta has built an efficient ecosystem for digital start-ups.

I will never forget the wonderful gesture of support from the Maltese Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Business, Dr Chris Cardona, who personally visited our office to inaugurate Oulala in February 2014. We also work closely with the Maltese regulator (MGA) to develop a tailor-made framework for our activity, and we hope that Malta will soon be the first European country to offer a specific licence for skill games.

What would you recommend to others about Malta?

There are various less visible factors that one may want to consider when moving to Malta. While lifestyle is not an important personal matter for an entrepreneur during their first few years, life in Malta -  which offers a good balance between work and fun - is attractive. This helps with attracting young talented people from abroad and keeping them happy.

Any good things about Malta that you don’t think are often spoken of?

I think that Maltese people have an amazingly positive vision of the future and this is certainly an asset - most Maltese believe that tomorrow will be better than today. As a start-up, it is crucial to be surrounded with a positive and upbeat atmosphere. Overall, Malta offers a number of obvious as well as hidden advantages for start-ups. In the worldwide race to attract them, Malta has built some strong competitive advantages with a lot of pragmatism.

What is your best experience of Malta on a business level?

I am proud to say that just last month Benjamin and I received a Community award from Malta Communications Authority for supporting the start-up community and promoting Digital Malta! This happened during this year's ZEST, Malta’s biggest digital business event, where I also moderated a panel called ''Based in Malta''.

And on a personal level?

In my opinion Malta is the best place to live in Europe. Besides what I've already said, the island is also very safe, it has an excellent education system and a modern and efficient health system. Indeed, my son was born at Mater Dei Hospital and I am amazed by the outstanding quality of service.

Can you give me a snapshot of your working day?

An entrepreneur usually works “half time” (meaning 12 hours per day) but despite that, my life is still amazingly glamorous compared to most people living in major European cities. I live and work in Sliema which is very convenient as it only takes me a few minutes to walk along the seafront to my office and back. I try to have lunch at home with my son as often as possible. I also enjoy the fact that in the event of an out-of-office business meeting taking place in restaurant or a café, I almost feel as though I am on vacation. Unfortunately, I also travel a lot, however this at least keeps me from getting too used to all the benefits Malta offers; so I am always happy when I return.

What’s your favourite part of Malta and why?

Without a doubt; the sea. I grew up in Paris and London where people escaped the town by going to the countryside. In Malta, we simply get on a boat and enjoy the amazing Mediterranean pleasures. In most countries, boat season is rather short, but Malta is able to enjoy it at least 9 months a year. This is pure happiness.