Type

Thesis

Published

December 2021

Reading time

3 minutes

Why isn't Selling a Ticket as Simple as Selling a T-Shirt?

Why We're Investing in Simon, Jens, and Simon of Vivenu

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Activant is proud to announce that we have co-led vivenu’s $50 million Series B alongside existing investors Balderton Capital, Redalpine, and the fund associated with the owners of the San Francisco 49’ers. We’re excited to back Simon, Jens, Simon, and the entire vivenu team on their mission to transform ticketing.

Type

Thesis

Published

December 2021

Reading time

3 minutes

If you were going to launch a product to transform the event ticketing space, you couldn’t have picked a worse time than 2019. The world was humming along as usual, with packed stadiums, concert halls, and festivals.

Market leader LiveNation’s Ticketmaster division collected $1.5 billion in revenue by selling 115 million tickets, reaching record high concert attendance and ticket sales. But this massive industry with billions of spend, millions of fans, and tens of thousands of venues, artists, and event organizers came to a grinding halt within just a few weeks in early 2020.

Co-founders Simon, Jens, and Simon had founded vivenu a year prior after struggling to buy tickets to a Formula 1 race in Malaysia. Here they were in 2020, with no prior experience in the industry, a world in lockdown, and a market that evaporated overnight – yet they saw nothing but opportunity.

Why even bother?

Let’s start from the top. What is a ticket in the first place? It’s access to an experience. But it turns out that buying a ticket – getting access – is harder for fans than it should be. And it’s even worse for sellers to provide it.

For buyers, it’s often unclear who you buy a ticket from. The artist, the event organizer, the venue, or an aggregator platform? Then, throughout the purchase process, you’re bounced around by page re-directs and popups. And when you finally see the total price, you’re hit with surprise fees – even fees to print your own tickets! For users, this is a checkout problem; at the moment of highest intent, fans and customers face the most friction.

For sellers, fees are even higher, often more than 10% of their ticket sales. They are forced to work with monolithic, legacy tech systems where even the smallest changes to say, a seating chart, require manual back-and-forth with the ticketing platform’s account executive, rather than being possible in software. These existing systems intermediate the relationship between event organizers – venues, artists, and teams – and their fans. They claim to be empowering organizers but are simultaneously aiming to own the relationship with the end customer, which causes a fundamental misalignment. That’s why you might be confused as you checkout – you go to your favorite artist’s website to buy tickets, but are suddenly on another platform picking your seats.

At Activant, we believe in empowering merchants and sellers with the tools to compete and win against the big platforms – it’s the driving force behind our investments in Bolt, Deliverr, Hive, NewStore, and many more. While the world of ecommerce has rapidly evolved to be flexible and empower sellers, ticketing hasn’t moved beyond first generation technologies, leaving sellers in a tough spot.

Enter vivenu…

Co-founder’s Simon, Jens, and Simon’s founding question was simple – why isn’t selling a ticket as simple as selling a t-shirt? And while their journey so far been anything but simple, vivenu is delivering on their mission to empower event organizers.

Without prior experience in the industry, Simon, Jens, and Simon designed their platform from a place of ignorance. This let them think from first principles and borrow best practices from modern commerce and fintech leaders.

The vivenu platform preserves an organizer’s brand through the entire customer journey, from initial marketing to checkout to post-purchase ticket delivery and event follow-up. A non-technical event organizer can sign up on the platform and be selling tickets within an hour, with complex seating charts, coupons, physical point of sale support, and more. Mid-market and enterprise customers can access the vivenu API, which provides ultimate flexibility and unlike incumbents is horizontal – not just limited to live events, but conferences, museums, zoos – you name it. And vivenu gives ticket sellers their data (not just some, but all of it), so they can better understand their event’s attendees and build healthy, long-term relationships.

It’s paying off. After bootstrapping the business for two years, braving the COVID winter, interviewing thousands of potential customers, and signing hundreds of their own (like FC Schalke 04), vivenu is entering the big leagues. We’re proud to partner with Simon, Jens, Simon and the entire team and support them on their U.S. expansion.

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