Meet The Team: Q&A Session with Huddle CFO Jesse Wachtel

February 14, 2024

Meet The Team: Q&A Session with Huddle CFO Jesse Wachtel

In our new edition of 'Meet the Team' series, we sat down with Huddle CFO and co-founder, Jesse Wachtel. With a keen eye for financial strategy and a passion for driving growth, Jesse plays a pivotal role in steering the financial direction of our company. As we delve into his story, you'll discover the insights and principles that have shaped his approach to leadership. From navigating complex financial landscapes to spearheading initiatives that align with Huddle's vision.

As an investor yourself and being Huddle CFO and co-founder, were there any particular challenges or successes in your past ventures that provided valuable lessons or insights you applied to building and growing Huddle? What influenced your approach to founding and leading Huddle?

Jesse: The biggest challenge facing the iGaming industry, which I saw then, but see even more now as the company matures is the limited venture capital available for startups in iGaming. The regulatory requirements put on investors by the states has limited the number of funds who are willing to dip their toe into our industry despite the tailwinds that come with more and more states opening up. My skillset or approach is pretty industry agnostic and I always just try to understand where a company is and where it needs to go and see capital as the fuel to get it there.

Huddle has seen significant growth since its inception. What do you attribute this success to, and what strategies have been most effective in scaling the business?

Jesse: I think Huddle has been pretty on the nose in terms of identifying the needs of most sportsbooks. Also the rest of the founding team’s experience as operators themselves has allowed us to really tailor our products to addressing those needs from Day 1.

Additionally, our commitment to continuous improvement and innovation has been a driving force behind our success. We don't just stop at meeting the needs of sportsbooks; we actively anticipate future challenges and trends, ensuring that our products remain ahead of the curve.

Overall, I attribute the success to a combination of factors—market insight, innovation, client collaboration, and a talented team—that have fueled Huddle's remarkable growth trajectory.

Fundraising is often a critical aspect for startups, but launching during a pandemic could make it more challenging. Can you discuss the specific hurdles Huddle faced in raising funds during this time? Can you share some insights into how the company navigated this difficult period?

Jesse: When we started raising all sports were canceled and most investment was frozen as markets were in free fall. Luckily for us, we were just founders with a vision and hadn’t taken on any real expenses at that time, so while it was painful to wait, we were able to keep advancing conversations without any financial pressure at that point.

In your experience, what are some of the biggest challenges facing startups in today's business landscape, and how can they be overcome?

Jesse: We are in a moment where stockmarkets are at or near all time highs but investment in earlier stage businesses has definitely slowed. I think with interest rates higher, an increased focus has been put on profitability and long term viability if the markets don’t improve, so we have no choice but to adapt and make those our priorities as well.

Overall, while startups face numerous challenges in today's business landscape, they also have unprecedented opportunities for growth and impact. By embracing change, prioritizing resilience, and staying true to their vision, startups can overcome obstacles and chart a path towards sustainable success.

With the anticipation of strong demand for B2B tools how does Huddle plan to capitalize on these trends to drive growth and attract investment?

Jesse: I think we will continue to see a lot of insourcing of technology as more mature businesses with capital look to acquire innovative solutions, but I also believe companies who insourced technology might be at the end of the useful life cycle of that tech and more willing to leverage a B2B. 

By staying agile, responsive, and focused on delivering exceptional value, we are confident in our ability to drive growth, attract investment, and solidify our position in the market.

Looking ahead, what excites you the most about the future of Huddle and the industry it operates in?

Jesse: I still see the overall sportsbetting market growing consistently. What excites me is that the focus has become more evenly balanced between customer acquisition and what Huddle provides which is a more profitable book.

See also Q&A Session with the Huddle CBDO Leo Gaspar Here, and Huddle EVP of Operations, Mario Zdelican, HERE