We’ve recently announced that our founder, Andrew Daniels, has launched a brand new online gambling technology platform, Sharp Gaming. The platform provides enhanced capabilities to support sports betting and gaming services for operators worldwide.
The platform is still in its infancy, despite already employing over 100 people, and Andy is looking for more driven and talented tech specialists to join his team. This is a huge project and we’re really excited about it.
Now, it’s time for Andy to step away from Degree 53 to focus 100% on Sharp Gaming. To ensure the Degree 53 team is fully supported and continues to deliver high quality work, Andy has appointed Richard Wagstaff as our new Managing Director. Rich has been supporting our team as the Operations Director for the past four years, so he knows the company inside-out. But for those who haven’t met him yet, we’ve decided to introduce him properly.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I come from a small town in West Yorkshire where I grew up around sport and music, but I’ve always had an interest in business and technology. Whilst at Loughborough University studying International Business, I got my first taste of working for a technology company during a Product Management placement year with Amadeus, who lead the travel technology market.
After university, I got my first experience of mobile technology and also the gambling industry at IGT where I worked closely with a Senior Developer - Andrew Daniels, and must have made a reasonable impression… I then had the opportunity to move to Amaze (now Kin + Karta) to work on the Lexus account, which at the time was the flagship account for the agency. My time there was my first experience of working for an agency and I loved the pace, the high level of customer service required and the satisfaction of delivering great digital projects for clients.
After Amaze, I found myself wanting a new challenge and was approached by Andy to join him at Betfred to be part of his newly formed team. They were tasked with bringing Betfred’s mobile offering up to modern standards. I could tell by Andy’s enthusiasm for what was happening that this was going to lead to much bigger things if we could deliver, and I was excited by the challenge. Joining the Betfred mobile team as a Project Manager, I managed the delivery of the replacement of the mobile sportsbook front-end and Betfred’s first mobile apps on iOS and Android.
The work we did with Betfred mobile was a huge success. So much so that Fred Done backed Andy to create Degree 53 to allow us to apply our skills for other clients and we never looked back. Moving into the Head of Production role, followed by Operations Director, I have been responsible for the day-to-day activity within the agency for over five years now.
However, over the past couple of years, I have become much more involved with the commercial and new business aspects, which I really enjoy. Working with people is what I like to do and aim to continue doing.
How has Degree 53 been coping during the COVID-19 pandemic?
We’ve been coping well, better than I expected actually. The team have adapted amazingly well to full remote working and have managed to continue high levels of service for all of our clients. We had a couple of clients slow down activity temporarily, however, we’ve also won brand new business, as well as kicking off new projects with our existing clients in multiple different sectors.
What will be your main focus from now on?
My focus is to sustainably grow Degree 53 by doing great work for our existing clients, whilst bringing on new clients that fit well with our strategy. I’ll be constantly looking to improve our service and offering, and can only do that by having a high performing team, so developing our people will play a big part in our progression.
What are you most looking forward to in this role?
I’m looking forward to putting more of my stamp on the company and growing Degree 53 into a company that we’re even more proud to be a part of. I’m fortunate to be backed by Andy. Having him to provide advice and support gives me a great sounding board for ideas and decisions.
What services will Degree 53 be pushing and expanding to help their clients?
We will be continuing to build upon our reputation as UX, app and web development specialists in the industries we’re strong in. We won’t necessarily be bringing in new services but will be pushing for excellence in the services we offer with a big focus on client collaboration with lots of feedback opportunities to help us continue to improve all areas.
What do you enjoy the most about working at Degree 53?
It sounds cheesy but Degree 53 is like a family. We have a great group of people who are always looking to improve and enjoy the work we do. Agency life can be stressful at times and it’s important to foster a culture that people can thrive in, and I believe we get that right more often than not.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt while working in the tech industry?
Treat people as you would like to be treated yourself. Whilst we’re dealing with business critical systems and large budgets for clients, I think it’s very important to be honest, straightforward and supportive at all times.
What football team do you support?
The mighty Huddersfield Town.
What are your hobbies?
I’ve always been into sport, but nowadays only really play cricket competitively with a bit of 5-a-side football occasionally. I like to get involved in supporting the growth of my local cricket club and have organised events that have raised tens of thousands of pounds over the past 10 years, which I guess I’ll call a hobby! Other than that, I try to keep fit, spend time with my wife and son, and enjoy walking my dog.