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Summary:

FanSnap, a Palo Alto-based vertical search engine for live event tickets will launch in beta tomorrow. The company is funded by General Atlantic Partners and has raised undisclosed millions.

A couple of weeks back when visiting Boston, I met Andy Payne, one of the more active angels in Boston whose investments include Lookery. It wasn’t long before he started talking about his brand new start-up, FanSnap of Palo Alto, Calif., that has raised a substantial (though undisclosed) amount of funding from General Catalyst Partners.

FanSnap is a vertical search engine for live event tickets – everything from sports to concert tickets to theatre tickets. Just like Zillow helps consumers sift through real estate listings across the web by offering meta search results in a markedly user experience than a typical all-purpose search engine, FanSnap finds listings of tickets that are on sale.

The company, which will launch its beta service tomorrow, lists chief executive officer Mike Janes as its co-founder. Janes in past life worked for FedEx and Apple and most recently was chief marketing officer at StubHub, an online ticket reseller that was acquired by eBay in January 2007 for $310 million, Mark Towfiq, former CTO of Flock, Rishi Garg (VP of Biz Dev) and Payne are other co-founders of this company.

“Today if you do a search for any ticket and you get a lot of results in Google,” Janes said. Google makes a lot of money by sending people to those ticket-selling destinations on the web. FanSnap wants to do that by building a customized user experience where fans can buy tickets of the events and see granular information such as where in the venue you will be seated. This feature is called FanSnap Maps.

FanSnap gets better information because it taps into the databases of leading ticket sellers such as Ace Ticket, AllShows.com, Barry’s Tickets, Gold Coast Tickets, Las Vegas Tickets, RazorGator, and StubHub. Janes, thanks to his past gig at Stubhub has been able to convince ticket sellers to sign-up for his service. It has so far signed up 50 odd partners and has another 10 deals in the pipeline.

FanSnap has spent a lot of money trying to integrate the backend systems of all ticket suppliers with its databases. Access to their database allows FanSnap to overcome the latency problem associated with scraping screens for data. In the fast changing sports ticket business, latency can quickly decay the value of the ticket.

Having followed the evolution of vertical search for some time, I was frankly surprised that no one had come-up with a FanSnap earlier. It not only solves a consumer problem – we all want to buy tickets at the last minute – but also has multiple revenue streams including performance-based advertising. “Lead generation is a fairly easily understood model in this industry,” says Janes.

As a sports and music fan who is always looking to buy a ticket or two for a game or a concert at the last minute, I don’t mind paying up. So if FanSnap makes finding and buying tickets easy, then there is no harm in some of that cash flowing back to the company. Looks like I will be using FanSnap… a lot, when baseball season returns.

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  1. Sachin Agarwal Tuesday, October 14, 2008

    I’m a bit surprised you haven’t heard of TicketStumbler or SeatQuest – both of them aggregate feeds from the major sites. TS was a YC company, even.

  2. I meant the 10/14 Dodgers game at Dodger Stadium.

  3. Om, another service that predated FanSnap by years was FatLens … launched at DemoFall 2005. Pure-play vertical search engine for tickets nationwide.

    Here’s their original press release:

    http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/09-19-2005/0004109992&EDATE=

  4. Looking at the 10/15 Dodgers game, all of the listings are from Stubhub. I know for a fact that 714tickets and Barry’s tickets who are mentioned as suppliers on their website have tickets for that game. So where are the rest of the suppliers? If they are successful what happens to Stubhub? Within the industry people speculate that 70%-80% of their listings are the brokers whom Fansnap is listing. Fansnap will be sending people directly to the broker owning the tickets and the consumer will end up paying 20%-25% less for the same seat than on Stubhub.

  5. @Brian — Thanks for your comment; for the game in question there are tickets available from multiple providers on our site, including ones you mention. Try using the checkbox filter on the left to see results from a specific provider.

    It may have been that some of the cheapest tickets in the list on the right were from Stubhub and you didn’t notice the list was paginated? As this is a beta, we are still experimenting with how to empower people to best sift through the different options.

  6. I really like the UI, based on the screenshot. Looks like far better nav than what one usually experiences on Ticketmaster or StubHub.

    But what I don’t get about these ticket exchange destinations is why anyone is willing to pay the idiot tax. The tickets are always 50% or more than if you just buy them off a ticketholder on craigslist. I’ve been to many playoff games and other tough to get tickets … and I’ve not once bought those tickets from StubHub or similar.

    Instead of partnering with the ticket resellers that have such ridiculous mark-ups, why not partner with the teams / concert venues more directly? As a consumer I’m not interested to have better access to awful ticket prices from a wider range of resellers. I want better access to the direct venues’ prices, and better alerting for when tickets go on sale.

  7. October 15, 2008 | next media update Wednesday, October 15, 2008

    [...] Meet FanSnap, Search Engine for Live Event Tickets GIGAOM FanSnap is a vertical search engine for live event tickets – everything from sports to concert tickets to theatre tickets. Just like Zillow helps consumers sift through real estate listings across the web by offering meta search results in a markedly user experience than a typical all-purpose search engine, FanSnap finds listings of tickets that are on sale.The company, which will launch its beta service tomorrow, lists chief executive officer Mike Janes as its co-founder. Janes in past life worked for FedEx and Apple and most recently was chief marketing officer at StubHub, an online ticket reseller that was acquired by eBay in January 2007 for $310 million, Mark Towfiq, former CTO of Flock, Rishi Garg (VP of Biz Dev) and Payne are other co-founders of this company. Source> [...]

  8. @Sachin Agarwal there are aggregators like TicketStumbler and there is FanSnap which is tapped into the databases of ticket sellers, which puts it at an advantage in terms of the inventory access and also more ancillary data around the tickets. In the end, it will be about the UI.

    As @TravisV says, I think it is about finding things easily. I agree with him. Low level scalpers via Craigslist are cheaper but there is a risk factor of not knowing if those tix are authentic or not.

  9. very nice site and user friendly.
    However, either they need more computing power, burstable bandwidth or better api code because serving up the data was very slow.
    Sports is a great area to in whether the economy is up or down. Thumbs up!

  10. KillerStartups.com – FanSnap.com – Search Engine For Live Event Tickets Thursday, October 16, 2008

    FanSnap.com – Search Engine For Live Event Tickets…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

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