You could be forgiven for thinking that Eventbrite, hot on the heels of its latest $60 million fund raise, has pretty much sewn up the long tail of event ticketing. Meanwhile, mobile-first apps like Yplan are innovating smartly around event discovery — a space Eventbrite also has its sights set upon. However, London-based startup KweekWeek sees an opportunity to bridge the two by offering a ticketing and event management platform for hosts, coupled with consumer-facing mobile apps to help you discover relevant events to attend.
Today the company is disclosing a $3.25 million seed round from a group of unnamed private angel investors from the worlds of banking, entertainment and tech — an investment made possible, in part, says CEO and co-founder Mehdi Nayebi, thanks to various tax-relief schemes in the UK. Specifically, he cites the investor-friendly Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), which he says is helping to mitigate the relative lack of early-stage capital that still exists this side of the pond compared to the U.S. and despite the “buzz” currently surrounding the London tech scene in particular.
“Although there are increasing numbers of early stage investors involved in the seed funding market in the UK, we’re still far from the U.S. where there are a multitude of sources available,” Nayebi tells me. “[There are] many more early stage VCs/seed funds, more incubators/accelerators programs and, most importantly, an enormously large group of angel investors — specifically seasoned entrepreneurs — that have already exited one or more companies and are keen financially and personally to support new ideas.”
However, having successfully navigated its seed round, KweekWeek is now pushing full steam ahead. The 2012-founded startup plans to use the new capital to further develop its product — described as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for event organisers and a “personal concierge” mobile web, iOS and Android app for event attendees — and to grow the company’s technology and sales teams. Most notably it’s also gearing up for further international expansion, including a New York launch by the end of the year.
On the thorny topic of competition, I asked Nayebi how the heck KweekWeek plans to take on a juggernaut (and Unicorn in the making) like Eventbrite? He says the fact that Eventbrite has traditionally focused almost exclusively on marketing to hosts, rather than consumers, means there’s still an opportunity around helping to match events with attendees and, ultimately, generate more sales.
“Although Eventbrite has indeed managed to gather a critical mass of events, most of the hosts are still using multiple channels to sell their tickets or generating interest in their events,” says Nayebi, adding that many hosts are now using KweekWeek as an alternative channel. “This is where our positioning as a holistic platform, offering both the convenience of mobile-first concepts for attendees and a powerful software solution for hosts, will allow us to gain market share.”
In addition, Nayebi argues that in the majority of cities in Europe and Asia, Eventbrite isn’t very well-known. “Those are high targets for us,” he adds.