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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.