Ticketfly Gets Ready To Rock Sporting Events, International, IPO With New $22M Series C

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Ticketfly is not content playing second fiddle to Ticketmaster, so it just raised a $22 million Series C with each investor chosen for a strength they bring to the stage: Northgate – sports, SAP Ventures (the round’s leader) – international, Cross Creek – IPO, and Mohr Davidow – connections in Silicon Valley. The round brings Ticketfly up to $37 million in funding to disrupt event ticketing.

CEO and co-founder Andrew Dreskin has lofty aspirations and tells me “A changing of the guard is afoot, the fundamentals of the ticketing space are experiencing great change.” But considering Ticketmaster has signed long contracts with clients, and is just half of the LiveNation juggernaut that owns venues and and artist management deals, Ticketfly will need to play its heart out to win the crowd.

Dreskin actually built TicketWeb, a platform for smaller event ticketing, and eventually sold it to Ticketmaster. Later he quit the giant to start Ticketfly and try disrupting them again.

The San Francisco startup’s most recent challenge to Ticketmaster was the launch of the Ticketfly software platform for reserved seating venues last week. Until then it had only been able to support smaller general admission venues, facing off against the general admission-specific TicketWeb subsidiary of Ticketmaster / LiveNation. But now Ticketfly can vie for contracts with big stadiums and arenas. It’s already had a strong 2o12, increasing its client count by 65%.

Some of the new money will go towards further developing the reserved seating platform so it can handle more complex venues and verticals such as sporting and performing arts events that use season tickets. Dreskin also says some cash will be put towards the company’s marketing and sales efforts.

Ticketfly’s Series C, Note By Note

Now I know articles about startup funding can seem dry. They often just cite a long list of investors with no clue as to when they got in on the round. Luckily, this Series C was different. Ticketfly picked each investor to take advantage of a specific superpower of theirs. So I’m going to cover it differently too. Here’s what each investor offers:

Northgate Capital – Ticketfly is mostly a music ticketing company right now, but it wants to get into sports. Thomas Vardell, a former professional football player for the San Francisco 49ers and other teams, has been one of Northgate’s managing directors since it was founded. Vardell’s sports connections could help Ticketfly break into the lucrative vertical.

SAP Ventures - The investment arm of a European enterprise software giant, SAP Ventures has deep connections outside the United States. Most of Ticketfly’s clients are state-side, but it wants to expand internationally. Having SAP Ventures lead the Series C could smooth that expansion.

Cross Creek Capital – Founded inside Wasatch Advisors which handles several mutual funds, Cross Creek Capital invests in late stage companies and preps them to go public. With a strong business and having now raised a Series C, Ticketfly is eying a public market debut that Cross Creek could help it reach.

Mohr Davidow Ventures - A stalwart of the Silicon Valley scene, Mohr Davidow is doubling down after its Series B investment in Ticketfly. It will continue to give the company advice and assistance brokering partnerships with other startups.

With over $37 million in funding, Ticketfly is ready to attack top-tier of the ticketing industry. However, Matt Shearer, vice president of its competitor TicketWeb is skeptical that Ticketfly will be able to “straddle the two worlds” of general admission and reserved seat ticket — segments Live Nation has split between two companies.

Still, Shearer says Ticketfly’s ambitions “push everyone to get better, smarter, faster, stronger.” And if Ticketfly deems the challenge too great, it’s got options. Dreskin tells me there are “potential acquirers sniffing around.”

[Image Credit: Muashley]