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FanSnap

With $2.2M In New Funding, SeatGeek Acquires And Shuts Down Ticketing Competitor FanSnap

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Ticketing startup SeatGeek is announcing that it has acquired FanSnap from Wize Commerce, which purchased the ticketing site two years ago.

Co-founder Russell d’Souza told me that the deal closed in late November, around the same time that SeatGeek (which launched at the TechCrunch50 conference in 2009) closed $2.2 million in new funding from existing investors. The timing, he said, was “not a coincidence” — the round was intended to fund the acquisition.

The two sites are competitors — both of them allow users to search for tickets across resale sites like StubHub and eBay. d’Souza said he made the acquisition (SeatGeek’s first) for two reasons. First, he wanted to expose SeatGeek to new users. Second, he wanted to acquire FanSnap’s technology, partly to use at SeatGeek, and partly to keep it out of the hands of potential competitors.

The FanSnap website is being shut down today, with users being redirected to SeatGeek. I asked if some people might not be happy about being forced to switch, and d’Souza said, “That’s possible, but I wracked my brains and honestly I can’t think of a reason why that would happen,” because he thinks SeatGeek has every feature a FanSnap user might want.

“[FanSnap has] great technology, I’m not putting down what they’ve built at all, but I do think those users, once they become accustomed to SeatGeek, they’ll be using it regularly,” he added.

The financial terms of deal are not being disclosed, but d’Souza noted that none of the Wize team members working on FanSnap will be joining SeatGeek. Since Wize (previously known as Nextag) was willing to part with the site and see it shutdown, I wondered if FanSnap had been underperforming.

“I don’t think that’s the case,” d’Souza said. “It wasn’t languishing, I just think that for all companies, focus is an important thing, and from Wize’s perspective, they need to focus on their core shopping vertical.”

He also said SeatGeek is currently selling $6 million worth of tickets each month, about triple what it was selling at the same time last year, with 3.5 million monthly visitors across desktop and mobile. (d’Souza said his agreement with Wize precludes him from disclosing FanSnap’s numbers — I asked comScore, and apparently it doesn’t have data about FanSnap, but it said SeatGeek’s unique desktop visitors in the United States grew from 697,000 in November 2012 to 757,000 last month.)

In a blog post, d’Souza offered more perspective on how FanSnap influenced SeatGeek:

When we started SeatGeek in 2009, FanSnap’s incumbency cast quite a shadow on us. They were two years old at that point, with a formidable team, an impressive set of advisors, and more than $15 million in venture financing. We had an idea and a couple of laptops.

Then, as now, we had great respect for the FanSnap team and what they built. FanSnap helped make ticket search a thing. They introduced users to the benefit of seeing multiple ticket sellers on the same screen, showing just how often the secondary market can have the best deal for any game or show.

[Image: Flickr/fdecomite]