We see mobile tickets everywhere: the airport, on the train, and increasingly at live events. TicketLeap, a 9-year-old ticketing platform, wants to help bring mobile ticketing and event-management software to entertainment events at non-traditional venues.
The Philadelphia-based company is rolling out a new image and purpose on Monday: gone is the dated-looking frog-adorned logo, replaced by a fresher, more vibrant look. But more importantly, TicketLeap is targeting a new customer base: entertainment event organizers, and the growing number of events that take place outside of theaters, clubs, music halls and arenas. We’re talking about street food fairs, arts festivals, affinity group meetups and the like.
Two things make TicketLeap, a company thousands of miles from Silicon Valley, a good company to watch: its focus on mobile and its focus on data.
Build your own box office
Thanks to the ubiquity of mobile devices, TicketLeap is able to sell software that lets event organizers build a seating chart, scan tickets, and sell tickets at live events all from an iPad(s AAPL), a smartphone — or a laptop, if that’s your thing. The iOS box office software lets ticket takers scan tickets with the iPad’s front-facing camera as well as sell them via a nondescript black credit-card reader. (You can scan tickets only via its mobile site on an Android(s GOOG) device.)
But the reserved seating feature, announced recently, lets anyone build a custom seating chart on the fly in a couple of minutes, and more importantly lets attendees claim specific seats, which is not at all common among ticketing companies not named Ticketmaster or LiveNation.
Data is big for events
Through TicketLeap, attendees can talk about the event with others on each event’s site, or by posting on Facebook (s FB) or Twitter.
“The No. 1 thing that motivates someone to buy a ticket is because their friends are going. The way we look at it, the event used to start when the doors opened, but now it’s when the tickets go on sale,” said founder and CEO Chris Stanchak in an interview last week.
What event organizers get out of the software is the ability to make decisions based on the data TicketLeap shows them. Its box-office software lets an organizer see if a post on someone’s Facebook page drove views of the event, and how many actually bought tickets as a result. Knowing this kind of information can help organizers decide whether to dole out VIP status, a free drink ticket or anything else to reward their most influential patrons.
Built in his dorm room at nearby University of Pennsylvania in 2003 as a favor to a friend, TicketLeap was a side project for Stanchak. In 2007, Stanchak got funding and built it into a viable alternative ticketing platform, but its strongest growth has come in the last 18 months, during which TicketLeap passed $100 million in transactions. That is part of the reason the 25-person company is choosing to re-brand now.
San Francisco-based Evenbrite, a competitor, just passed $1 billion in transactions, so while TicketLeap is much older, it’s also considerably smaller. But Stanchak’s company has recently introduced a bunch of new features that it hopes will set it apart from the other ticketing startups. It doesn’t want to attach itself to specific venues like Ticketfly, and it isn’t interested in being a broad platform for any kind of event like Eventbrite, which does everything from corporate conferences to pool parties.
Obviously they’ve got big competition. But they have about 10,000 clients as far away as Australia right now that use their software and a fee structure that’s simple: $2 fee per ticket over $10, $1 for per ticket under $10, and if you’re not charging for entry all TicketLeap services are free. Deciding which type of events to target helps them narrow potential customers and giving more power to event organizers — with custom seating and instant data — is a good way to get attention. But it’s going to take even more to help them stand out against the competition.