Interview with the CEO of IQONIQ

Kazim Atilla, CEO of IQONIQ, gives a wider outlook about this revolutionary project in an interview. Get to know all the details about this new platform that is going to change sports and entertainment industries.

Q1. What’s IQONIQ?

IQONIQ is a new social media and fan engagement eco system, exclusively developed for the sports and entertainment sector. The core focus of IQONIQ is to become a best of class social engagement platform, enabling sports clubs, athletes and entertainers to better manage and monetise the value of their global fanbases and assets, while also providing fans with a much richer, rewarding and personalised relationship with their heroes and clubs.

For the fans, IQONIQ contains multiple integrated features to benefit and further their fandom, all in one place. This includes exclusive posts and videos and being an aggregator for the posts on other channels of sports clubs, athletes and entertainers, following latest news, live scores, statistics,  buying tickets, a loyalty programme featuring rewards, special merchandise offerings, a gamification element with unique prizes, which will provide a brand new dimension to watching live matches, and much more!

2. Why was IQONIQ created?

Firstly, I am a huge fan of sports and entertainment and, in general, I think we have seen the bridge between clubs and fans become widened over the past years.

Part of the reason for that, we believe, is the lack of a tailored platform for fan engagement. If we look at the current market for fans receiving information and content, it is very fragmented, with fans having to follow a multitude of sites and apps to keep up to date with what their clubs or idols are doing, which is frustrating and time-consuming. Moreover, such sites, including social media, have not been specifically designed for fan engagement, leaving missed opportunities all-round.

IQONIQ is based on the belief that it would be far better to have all the features that fans want in one, specifically designed place. Not only is this better for the fans who don’t need to spend hours searching various outlets for news and offers, but it is also better for the clubs and idols to concentrate their efforts on one place, and a place designed for this purpose. This is also the same for brands, as IQONIQ makes it easy for them to calculate their return on investment and ensure that such investments are well-grounded.

In this sense, IQONIQ is an all-in-one solution for the fans, clubs, athletes and entertainers, and brands. A win-win-win scenario.

3. What is your goal with the creation of the platform?

Practically-speaking, we want to make it easier for the three target groups – fans; clubs, athletes and entertainers; brands – to have a common platform that meets all of their needs and rewards them accordingly. Our greater vision is to become the fan engagement platform for the sports and entertainment industry, whereby it will be the beacon for all of these groups to be and utilise to their advantage.

But ultimately, there is a bigger goal. We believe that sports and entertainment unite people from different countries and backgrounds. It does not discriminate. At IQONIQ, we want to make the bond between people stronger on the platform. Sport and entertainment are a part of our culture, and we want to make sure that these industries adjust to the digitalisation of our world in an effective manner and continue to bring people together as we know they can do.

4. So what message to you have to fans and why they should go on IQONIQ?

The sports digital landscape is cluttered. Fans have to go to various platforms to get fragments of information about their favourite teams or idols, and there is not much they get in return. We are changing that. We are giving them a place where they can do it all, and also be rewarded for their engagement by joining a loyalty program. We know that in other industries, people are increasingly looking for all-in-one solutions, and will provide this for the international sports community. They deserve more and they will be getting more on IQONIQ.

5. What about the leagues, teams and idols? What has been their reaction to the creation of IQONIQ?

The rights-holders that we already have on board and those that we are talking to have all become excited by the prospect of engaging further with the sports community on IQONIQ. Many times they feel that they are missing opportunities to interact with their fans and they see that may happen more on our platform. They can find out what their support base wants and needs, and provide it to them, whether that is information, tickets or merchandise. They want to work with us as a team to improve the content and services they give to their supporters and increase the time of engagement, and they are confident they can do it through us.

6. Can you tell us how you will get content on the platform?

The content is actually created by the clubs, athletes and celebrities themselves, as it is with the other social media platforms. That said, IQONIQ works actively with partners to ensure a deeper level of engagement, based on the specialised market research we have done. Through such a close relationship, we can ensure that the content is tailor-made for peak fan engagement, which naturally benefits the partner as a result. IQONIQ will also be the aggregator for the posts on other channels of sports clubs, athletes and entertainers, which makes it even easier for the fans by not missing anything.

7. What is your background? Why did you get involved in this project?

Personally, I’ve been an international businessman, working across many countries and continents during my career so far. But the reasons for the creating this platform actually precede this. When I was just six years old, and living only 2 years in the Netherlands, I was involved in a severe car crash, where I almost died and ended up in hospital for many months. It was expected that I would be bed-ridden for the rest of my life.

Thankfully, after four months being bedridden and almost 5 months of rehabilitation, I eventually managed to start walking – slowly but surely, with the warning that I should not partake in sports. Again, with years of practice, I started to ‘defy the odds’ and play sports. It became my love – I appreciated every second, whereby I became goal scorer of my team for many years and also became twice Dutch national champion in Kenpo.

Put simply, sport gave me the strength to become better, stronger, more disciplined. I now want to give back what I received. I want to be a part of sport inspiring people. Sport is a beautiful universal language that brings people together, and that is they key reason I wanted to create IQONIQ.

8. Are you a sports fan? What sports do you follow?

Absolutely, I am a huge sports fan – and a (frustrated!) follower of all the different sports news channels and apps – hence the need for an all-in-one platform!

Football is my number one sport, but I’m also a big fan of other sports such as basketball, rugby, boxing, MMA, F1, tennis and other sports. I’m also a big fan of entertainment – music and film are huge passions of mine.

Sadly, I travel a lot so don’t get to participate too much in sports, which hurts me a lot! I keep reminding myself this is not an excuse, because I love it so much, so it’s one of my big ambitions to take it up again soon!

9. How much power does sports have to bring people together?

The power of sport is almost unmatched.

As a basic point, the sheer number of sports fans is incredible – countries come to a halt when sports events are taking place. The football World Cup is obviously the classic example of this, with 211 counties all engaged in the same event, but other, smaller sports and events, can have a similar unifying power.

The great thing about sport and entertainment is that it makes other things that can divide us, such as race, religion or social background, completely irrelevant. What an amazing power this is. With IQONIQ, we want to work alongside our partners to make sure that we make special efforts to serve diverse communities and unleash the full potential of these industries.

10. What are your short- and long-term goals for IQONIQ?

The short-term goals are to build up a strong group of clubs, athletes and celebrities as our partners. Our current plans are to launch the platform in March, so we want, by then, to have a group of clubs and idols that are producing great content and unique benefits and rewards to fans.

In the longer-term, as mentioned, we want to become the main fan engagement platform for the sports and entertainment industry. Through the platform, we want to create a community that comes together and unites rather than divides which our slogan also gives the message to “Become One”. On this theme, we are also planning to grow the IQONIQ Foundation, a charity which will develop a series of initiatives to ensure that children, no matter their background, can enjoy and develop through sports. In this way, we can grow and develop a true IQONIQ ecosystem.