(Updated with comment from SeatGeek)
It's pretty safe to say that no one really likes using Ticketmaster, with their horrible interface and processing fees (I swear that I have, at least a couple of times, paid more in fees than I did for the ticket I bought!) It's something we do because, frankly, we often have no choice.
Thankfully, the rise of secondary ticket markets, like StubHub, have finally offered a reprieve, allowing us to buy and sell our tickets directly to each other. But how do you know where to get the best deal? Ticket search engine SeatGeek aggregates the information and provides the answer. And now it has raised a $35 million Series B round of funding, it was announced on Thursday.
The round was led by Accel Partners, along with a number of big names in the sports world: other investors in the round includes Causeway Media Partners, a sports-focused investment fund led by Boston Celtics CEO Wyc Grousbeck; Super Bowl MVPs Peyton and Eli Manning; Stanford University Athletics; Seattle Mariners co-owner and Real Networks founder Rob Glaser; and NBA veterans Shane Battier and Mike Dunleavy Jr.
Also participating in the round were Nas; Melo7 Tech Partners and existing investors, including Mousse Partners and Thomas Lerhman.
SeatGeek had previously raised around $6 million, most recently raising a $2.2 million round in December 2013. Previous investors in the company include Entree Capital, Founder Collective, Red Swan Ventures, NYC Seed and Lerer Ventures. The company has now raised a total of $41 million.
The New York City-based SeatGeek is like Kayak for concert tickets: it searches dozens of the biggest ticket sites and present the results all in one place. It also provides a recommendation engine, which suggests upcoming events based on each user's personal tastes, as well as interactive maps of venues.
The company will use the new funding to build out its mobile platform, which has seen tremendous growth in recent years. Its mobile apps for iOS and Android have been downloaded almost 2 million times. Mobile purchases now make up 40% of all SeatGeek transactions, with mobile transactions growing at a 70% rate month-to-month. Currently, over 70% of SeatGeek users access SeatGeek via their phone.
"Mobile is crucial to our future because we already believe that we have the best mobile apps for ticket search on the market," Will Flaherty, Director of Communications at SeatGeek, told me. "Furthermore, consumers are increasingly shifting the time they spend online to mobile devices, and are increasingly making a larger share of their purchases on mobile. So we want to be out in front of these trends and as such we're focusing heavily on mobile."
The funding will also be used to grow the SeatGeek team. The company currently has 40 employees, and is expecting to grow that total to 80 within the next 12 months.
"Most of the new hire will be developers, designers and engineers, though we'll likely hire more folks for our marketing team as well," Flaherty said.
In addition to the funding round it was also revealed that Accel Partner John Locke will be joining the board of directors at SeatGeek. The other current members of the board include SeatGeek founders Jack Groetzinger and Russ D’Souza, as well, David Frankel from Founder Collective, which first seeded SeatGeek back in 2010.
Founded in 2009, SeatGeek currently sees roughly five million monthly unique visitors, and will sell well over one million tickets thru the SeatGeek platform this year.
"We want to empower consumers with great software, an elegant user experience and powerful data that allows them to identify the best deal on tickets anywhere," said Flaherty. "The end result of that is that fans get to see their favorite artists or teams for less. We hope to continue to grow in coming years, particularly on mobile, and become the first choice option for fans looking for event tickets."
(Image source: banana1015.com)