Online events and ticketing site Eventbrite announced Wednesday that it has raised a $50 million Series E round of funding led by Tiger Global with participation from several other firms.
Contrary to what others might think, however, this isn’t about taking down Ticketmaster.
Eventbrite CEO and co-founder Kevin Hartz tells me Ticketmaster’s gross sales are approximately $8 billion per year, a tiny minority of the total gross ticket volume worldwide, which Hartz’s investors have estimated to be worth over $200 billion. Ticketmaster, the 800-pound gorilla in the market, has attained its grandiose status by focusing on the largest live entertainment and sporting events around, but that’s not Eventbrite’s business strategy at all.
“Our core market has been all these events in verticals outside of that,” Hartz told me over the phone. “It makes much more sense for us to go global in alternative markets rather than take on the traditional ticketing market.”
That was how Eventbrite got started in the first place. Many of the site’s earliest customers formerly had to either collect checks via mail and keep track of attendees in spreadsheets. Not exactly the most efficient way to organize an event.
The company enabled a whole new class of event organizers to have access to many of the same tools a promoter might have on Ticketmaster, and, in the era of social media, even more.
All that said, Eventbrite isn’t exactly evading large events. Instead, the company simply wants to provide a platform that anyone can use to sell tickets, from Top 40 musicians to unknown San Francisco-based entrepreneurs. This summer, for example, the Black Eyed Peas are selling 60,000 tickets to their Central Park show on Eventbrite.
But the new funding, more than double Eventbrite’s $20 million Series D from last October, will mostly help the company accelerate its expansion in the global market. Already, the company has a larger presence in the UK, Canada and Australia, and it’s in the process of opening an office in London. Western Europe is a big target going forward.
In total, Eventbrite has helped over 120,000 event organizers in 150 countries host more than half a million events, attended by over 10 million people. The company says it is on track to process nearly $500 million in gross ticket sales this year.
Eventbrite charges event organizers a 2.5 percent + $0.99 fee per ticket sold, though the fee is capped at $9.95. Organizers of free events pay nothing.
This latest round brings Eventbrite’s total funding to $79.5 million.