Blixx Gaming team talks female leadership and start-up success
Online casino operator Blixx Gaming stands out with a management team that is 80% female.
While this gender balance was not necessarily intentional, it appears to be paying off, as the company has emerged as a top performer in terms of profit margins for HappyHour.io’s investment portfolio.
The start-up, launched this year, currently employs 20 staff, and 70% (14) of them are women.
A culture of agility and openness
The women at Blixx Gaming downplay the role of their gender in their success.
Instead, they attribute their achievements to Blixx’s open banking solution which enables fast pay-outs, a drive to create a superior customer experience, and their work and company culture.
“We act quickly and brainstorm without being bogged down by corporate hierarchies,” says Blixx head of operations Johanna Pyykonen. “That has been a significant asset.”
Her colleague, Kristina Laul, who is head of affiliates and marketing at Blixx, added: “It is no secret that women wear many hats—as employees, as parents, as caregivers, and much more.
“We are adaptable, a trait that resonates perfectly with the dynamic nature of a start-up.”
Laul also emphasised the importance of precision, noting there’s little margin for error.
“With limited resources available for corrections, it’s imperative to ensure we get it right from the very beginning. So, communication is crucial for problem elimination,” she adds.
Can a female-led workforce enhance communication?
“I believe it doesn’t hinder it,” states finance manager Tsvetelina Sarandeva. “Our communication is remarkably open. People are not afraid to come forward and voice their opinions.”
Furthermore, Sarandeva underscores the significance of male colleagues’ receptiveness, stating: “The encouragement from our male colleagues holds immense value; they too play a pivotal role in paving the path to greater success.”
Pyykonen, meanwhile, highlights that the team often has “frank discussions” to analyse what they excel at and areas that must be improved.
“These insights are openly shared with every member of the company,” says Pyykonen. “It’s this transparency that serves as the catalyst for real, tangible improvements and operational efficiency.”
The team cherishes this culture, which is enriched not only by gender diversity, but also by a variety of ages, nationalities and backgrounds.
While the women refrain from making blanket statements about women being better communicators, Pyykonen admits: “Throughout my career, I’ve been in many meetings where I was the only woman. A woman’s opinion can be easily overlooked, especially in a male-dominated industry.”She emphasised that even with substantial professional experience, it can be intimidating to be the only woman among men.
Multi-skilled talent for maximum efficiency
Blixx has stuck to its core principles since inception: putting the player’s experience first, making thoughtful decisions, nurturing positive relationships with partners, earning competitors’ respect, and “having fun while doing it”.
However, execution is not always straightforward.
Distributing tasks simply isn’t an option when there are so few people to share them with, so it’s up to the team to pull up their boot straps and do what needs to be done.
“When we formed the Blixx team, we hired people with multiple skill sets who were interested in business outside of their own role focus, people who can wear many hats,” says Emily Micallef, investment and portfolio partner at HappyHour.io.
Encouraging this cross-functional approach has been pivotal in creating a harmonious and exceptionally productive work atmosphere, she added.
The path to leadership for women is a road with its own set of challenges, that despite public perception is often nuanced and difficult to articulate.
“While social awareness has certainly improved perspectives on female authority in the workplace, we are not there yet and the deeper-rooted challenges faced by previous generations continue to influence women’s behaviour today,” Micallef states.
For example, HappyHour’s statistical data reveals that women typically approach job opportunities with caution.
“When presented with a chance for advancement, many women scrutinise the job requirements meticulously. Even a single unmet criterion might deter us from applying, or feeling worthy of advancement, underlying a pervasive question: Are we truly good enough?” she explains.
On the other hand, men tend to approach these opportunities with a more liberal mindset, highlighting a clear disparity in confidence levels.
The result is that when advertising job opportunities, the company often receives 80% of applications from men and just 20% from women.
“Recognising this, we took proactive measures: with a predominantly male candidate base, we actively sought out more women to ensure a diverse talent pool.
“Our final hiring decisions were always anchored in merit, determined solely by who we believed would excel most in the role. However, one cannot have a diverse workforce if the talent pool itself is not diverse,” she stressed.
Micallef believes that women need to cultivate greater self-assurance and be more proactive.
“We need to stop underestimating our own capabilities and seize opportunities when they arise,” she adds.
An example to follow
Blixx Gaming stands out as a noteworthy example in the start-up realm, highlighting that a focus on diversity, coupled with a culture of agility and open communication, can lead to success.
Blixx Gaming doesn’t need to emphasise its female leadership; rather, it quietly leads by example.
Micallef concludes: “We don’t want to shout about the fact that the majority of our team are women, but I do believe our approach serves as a good example and perhaps as an inspiration for other companies striving for operational excellence.”