Ticketfly grew revenue 57% in 2012, proving online ticketing is still up for grabs

By Michael Carney , written on February 27, 2013

From The News Desk

Ticketing is one of those categories that many outside observers have conceded to Web 1.0 giants like Ticketmaster and StubHub. But as we learned in the Los Angeles market last fall when Ticketfly announced 400 percent growth within the market, there are entire segments – largely mid-tier and long tail, as well as remnant inventory – in which the incumbents are genuinely vulnerable.

The Bay Area startup shared its cumulative 2012 results today and the results were nearly as stout across the rest of the country as they were in the City of Angels. Ticketfly grew its clients 128 percent during the year to 822 event promoters and venues, across 44 US states. As a result, the company increased its total number of events served by 82 percent to 26,000 and its total ticket sales by 57 percent to reaching 4.1 million.

Much of the reason for Ticketfly’s growth has been the fact that it offers venue and promoter customers marketing, analytics, and social tools, in addition to its ticketing platform. In the market segments that it’s targeting, these services have proven enormously valuable and a strong differentiator relative to larger competitors. Much of its initial success was in the music category, among venues of roughly 200 to 2,000 person capacity, but the company is quickly expanding into comedy, performing arts, sports, and larger events. The company reports that venues that switched to Ticketfly prior in 2011 saw an average of a 36 percent increase in tickets sold in 2012, while saving an average of 10 hours per week on digital marketing.

There were several other interesting takaways from the year end review that speak volumes about the ticketing category as a whole. Approximately 41 percent of Ticketfly’s sales came directly through social tools, and the company saw a 50 percent increase in social sharing by consumers relative to the year prior. Interestingly, fans of electronic dance music (EDM) were six times more likely to share socially than any other category of music – likely due in part to the high likelihood that these fans are young and digitally savvy.

The net result was that consumers who share their purchases on social channels are 40 percent more valuable in terms of revenue generated than those who don’t. This data, much like Klout for ticket purchasers, presents numerous interesting opportunities for venues to create loyalty and VIP programs.

On the heels of its substantial US growth in 2012, Ticketfly launched its service in Canada in January 2013. The company grew its team to by 50 percent in the last 12 months to 105. Most notably, was its recent addition of a new VP of Engineering, former Conductor SVP of Engineering and Operations, Matthew Baird. Baird previously worked at PeopleSoft, Siebel Systems, and Oracle.

Ticketfly has raised $37 million across three financing rounds, with the latest being a $22 million Series C round in July 2012. The startup’s investors include SAP Ventures, Northgate Capital, Cross Creek Capital, High Peaks Venture Partners, Contour Venture Partners, Mohr Davidow Ventures, and Roger Ehrenberg.

Ticketing is a highly competitive space. And the industry heavyweights are unlikely to lose their grip on the major professional sports and arena-filling music act markets. That said, Ticketfly has done an impressive job poking a the soft underbelly that is medium and small venues which have not been adequately served by these massive platforms.

[Image Credit: Scott Ableman on Flickr]