New York startup Rukkus calls itself “Kayak for tickets,” but I’d say it’s more of a Hipmunk for tickets. Kayak is great for aggregating flights, and it was the first comprehensive place to do that. But latecomer Hipmunk, in this flyer’s opinion, offers the most user-friendly visual search experience.
Today Rukkus has launched to do what Hipmunk did for event tickets.
Aggregating tickets online has become a crowded market, especially in the world of concerts. But touring is a big business — bigger now than album sales. That’s why companies like Songkick (eight million users), BandsinTown (five million users), Superglued (user count much smaller) have raised venture capital to tell us when our favorite bands are coming to town. SeatGeek, which is more focused on sports, has also gotten traction, calling itself “the world’s largest ticket search engine.”
For Rukkus’s part, the site pulls inventory from 100 ticket providers, including Ticketmaster, Ticketfly, StubHub, Clubtickets, Viagogo, eBay, Ticketcity and Ticketsnow. Rukkus has also built a platform that allows smaller bands to post their gigs and be in its system. CEO Manick Bhan, a former banker at Goldman Sachs, explains that this is done as a way to win over the music industry.
Rukkus ranks tickets in order from “great deal” to “terrible deal” for the price and seat. It is a well-designed breeze compared with most wonky ticketing sites, which means it has a chance of winning fans in the hugely competitive market.
Prior to Hipmunk, we had plenty of ways to search and book flights online, too. But Hipmunk just made it so much better that I haven’t used one of the other flight search sites since I discovered it. The company has since expanded into hotel search and raised more than $20 million in venture funding.
The important difference between buying flights and buying tickets is necessity. I go to Hipmunk when I need to book a flight. I rarely need to buy a concert ticket. That’s why Songkick and its peers exist — to create demand and interest in concerts, sporting events, and broadway shows, by telling you about them with their recommendation engines.
These ticket aggregator sites all have their own way of serving up concert recommendations. Songkick uses your Spotify listening habits to surface shows in your area. BandsinTown uses Facebook likes. Jukely, a new entrant, believes that a social media element will help tip people towards seeing more concerts, and recommends shows that your friends and you might like together.
Rukkus also has a recommendation engine, which pulls in similar data to surface concert suggestions.
After using most of these services, I’ve noticed they tend to serve up the same recommendations. Between Songkick, Rukkus, BandsinTown, and the others, you only need one app to tell you about shows. (Except Jukely, which serves up a wider variety and offers chances to discover new bands.)
On Hipmunk, when you find the ticket you want, the site sends you to the vendor to buy it directly. Same with Seatgeek and BandsinTown, as well as Rukkus. Songkick recently introduced native check-out function and I’m guessing that most aggregator businesses will go in that direction, because it is a better user experience and more profitable than affiliate fees.
Rukkus launched in private beta three months ago and has accumulated 5000 subscribers, a number that grows by 50 percent every month. Rukkus has 10 employees and has raised seed capital from friends and family.