“I’m just not thrilled with the amount of bureaucracy a company has to go through,” one half of the husband and wife Eventbrite founding team Kevin Hartz said about doing an IPO. Our TechCrunch editor-at-large Mike Butcher sat down with Kevin and Julia Hartz at Disrupt SF this morning to discuss how the two planned to take their company to the next level. Plans which, according to the couple, don’t include an IPO anytime soon.
“The government bureaucratic mess of going through an IPO…why go through it?” Kevin asked. “What you are seeing is companies staying private but taking public rounds of secondaries. The Airbnb’s the Dropbox’s, Amazon…we see these companies going public much much later. It always seems like that’s your destiny and I always assumed we’d be public by this stage but now we want to wait,” he added.
Eventbrite currently tops up at nearly $200 million in funding from 10 rounds, the latest raise was a $60 million raise in private equity from Tiger Global Management and T. Rowe Price.
Kevin joked that Eventbrite would also be revealing a smart watch. What is actually next for the events giant is a rollout of a plan to hook sellers up with buyers more efficiently, according to the Hartz’s. “We’ve been very focused on the seller part, but we’ve never actively engaged buyers. It’s about bringing the full breadth of inventory to the consumer. Just because you run a Tough Mudder doesn’t mean you aren’t interested in bread baking,” relayed Julia. “The number one thing sellers ask for is more buyers,” Kevin added.
The couple started Eventbrite shortly after they got engaged and moved in together. And something interesting to TechCrunchers, Eventbrite got their start at Disrupt. As Kevin and Julia tell it, Michael Arrington asked them one day what they thought of an idea he had for a tech conference. A little background here for the curious – Eventbrite were the first tenants in the office building that TechCrunch still calls home in SF. The Hartz’s say they actually helped take tickets at the door at the first ever Disrupt (back then TechCrunch50). The company has now grown to over 400 “britelings” (employees) and just hit a billion dollars in sales this last week.
Kevin and Julia have since jumped into the Silicon Valley investment game as well. But, according to Kevin, it hasn’t been without some learning curves, “It’s hard to distinguish as an individual investor such as a calendar…So when you do go to invest you should do something like Thiel and invest in something contrarian.” The Hartz’s have invested in 17 different companies in over 14 countries. They were early investors in Pinterest, and have added to the coffers of OpenDoor, Lookout, Chairish and Minted.