Online ticketing service Eventbrite is on track to sell $400 million worth of tickets this year, which is double the $207 million it did last year. But in order to do that, and push towards $1 billion in gros ticket sales in 2012, it must capture more ticket sales.
One project it is revealing today is the beginnings of what will become an Eventbrite Box Office. All Eventbrite tickets today are sold online, which means that people who decide to spontaneously show up at the door are not necessarily buying through Eventbrite. So Eventbrite is bundling together an iPad with an Eventbrite app, a card swipe, and a ticket printer so that event organizers can take payments an issue tickets at the event itself.
Eventbrite is bundling the hardware and testing it in beta with about five or six event organizers, but it plans to release it as an iPad app this summer. The first iteration will be called Eventbrite at the Door, but as more features are added, such as seating, it will evolve into a full mobile box office. CEO Kevin Hartz sees it as akin to Opentable terminals at restaurants. Eventually he’d like to partner with Square for the card swipe readers, but is waiting for Square to open up its API. Square just launched its own iPad cash register app as well, but that is geared more at merchants than event organizers.
Hartz will have to do a lot more to get to $1 billion in gross ticket sales, but this is the right thinking. International expansion is another obvious area of growth. He just raised $50 million, so he can try a lot of things. Who knows, if he gets to $1 billion in gross ticket sales, of which Eventbrite takes a tiny percentage cut along with other fees, he could be looking at an IPO in late 2012 or early 2013.