Ticket reseller Seatwave has taken $25 million Series C in a round led by Fidelity Ventures that included Atlas Venture, Mangrove Capital Partners and Adinvest. Total funding for Seatwave to date is $36 million.
The London based Seatwave, like StubHub (acquired by eBay for $310 million) and TicketsNow (acquired by Ticketmaster for $265 million) resells tickets to major events. The company was founded in 2006 by Joe Cohen, formerly with Ticketmaster and Match.com. Seatwave launched ticket exchanges in Germany, Holland, Spain and Italy during the last quarter of 2007. Seatwave has also taken investment from Holtzbrinck and a 3-year exclusive deal with StudiVZ, the “German Facebook”. According to PEHub, the European market hasn’t had a strong online reselling presence, particularly compared to the United States.
Reselling tickets is not illegal in the UK and a recent Culture, Media and Sport Committee released a report actually saying the secondary ticketing industry had been ‘transformed’ by the Internet and provided convenience. However, the resale of football (soccer) tickets is illegal in the UK unless the resale is authorized by the organiser of the match, such as an under an agreement Seatwave competitor Viagogo has.
The secondary ticketing market has been heating up with a spate of M&A activity which has seen Stubhub, TicketsNow and GetMeIn snapped up in the last 12 months by eBay and Ticketmaster.
VC Fred Destin with Atlas Ventures , a Seatwave backers, says on his blog that heavily funded Viagogo has been focused on expensive marketing partnerships and low margin deals with sports clubs, while Seatwave has taken a grassroots approach, with fan-to-fan sales and viral marketing. He also levels some allegations towards Viagogo which I won’t repeat because I understand libel law in the UK.