San Francisco based Eventbrite went prime time earlier this month when they raised $6.5 million from Sequoia Capital, and added partner Roelof Botha to their board of directors. We had a chance to sit down with Botha as well as founders Kevin Hartz and Julia Hartz and talk to them about their business and the fundraising.
We were supposed to talk for just ten minutes, but the interview went on for a solid 25 minutes before we were done. Julia and Kevin talked about Eventbrite’s growth to ten million registered users based only on word of mouth advertising. The company lets people sell (or give away) tickets to events – something only the big venues could do previously through companies like TicketMaster.
The service is free for people who give away tickets, and they charge a small percentage on non-free sales. The free tickets spread the word to new users, who often come back to sell tickets to their own events. This year, Eventbrite will rack up $100 million in gross ticket sales, says the company. The average ticket price, not factoring in the free tickets, is $60.
Why did Sequoia invest? Botha talks at length about the business model and explosive growth, and the fact that Eventbrite invented the market. The potential market for small-scale event tickets, says the company, may be as high as $36 billion in the U.S.
If you’re trying to raise money, listen closely to what Botha says. This is the guy who first invested in YouTube, and he’s one of the young guns at Sequoia. You’ll also want to read Good Question! The Eight Best Questions We Got While Raising Venture Capital, where Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman – he gives more details on the types of companies that Botha looks for when investing.
Botha also shows off his MBT shoes at the end of the video, which apparently make him a happier and healthier venture capitalist. I know what I want for Christmas.
And for everyone that couldn’t care less about this stuff, just skip to the outtakes at the end. Just skip to 24:40.