If you convince all your friends to go to a concert, shouldn’t the promoter give you a discount? Now they can with The Ticket Fairy, a full-stack events marketing and analytics suite coming out of stealth from Y Combinator today.
The Ticket Fairy’s goal is to make sure all its clients’ events sell out. Promoters let The Ticket Fairy sell their tickets, run their analytics, and handle ad buying in exchange for a fee on each ticket sold.
The startup sells 100 percent of an event’s inventory when it can, but sometimes exclusivity contracts with ticketers like TicketMaster mean it can only sell the 20 percent that a promoter has the right to distribute on its own. Eventually, though, co-founders Ritesh and Jigar Patel say The Ticket Fairy hopes to earn promoters so much money that they ditch their contracts and sell everything through its platform.
Ritesh built The Ticket Fairy to solve his own problems after running more than 400 events since 2000. Now it’s handled over $3.2 million in ticket sales, mostly for concerts, but it’s also breaking into big eSports competitions.
Ticket Fairy offers four central tools, but it’s building more:
- Referral Marketing – When people buy tickets through The Ticket Fairy, they get a personalized referral URL they can easily share via Facebook message or post, WhatsApp, Twitter, or however they want. When others buy through the referral link, the original person gets cash paid back to their credit card. No codes or sign-ups necessary. It’s more cost-effective than ads, and Ritesh tells me the incentive produces “crazy return on investment. For every dollar they give, they earn $30 in extra revenue.”
- Demographic Insights – During the ticket buying process, The Ticket Fairy tries to collect as much info as possible on the customer, including Facebook profile access that unlocks age, gender, and interests, plus Spotify listening history and other data. It uses this info to deliver audience intelligence to the client. For example, The Ticket Fairy could tell a music festival which bands to book based on who their existing customers Like.
- Sales Attribution – The Ticket Fairy tracks where every purchase comes from to make sure marketing dollars are spent efficiently. It could show that ads or a partnership were performing poorly, but that a random music blogger was driving tons of sales. That way the promoter could try to run a campaign on that blog.
- Ad Management – To tie everything together, clients have the option of The Ticket Fairy running their ad campaigns. By using all its data on referrals, customers, and traffic sources, it can intelligently allocate ad spend to the channels that are delivering the most sales per dollar spent. Right now, The Ticket Fairy does this for free, but eventually it wants to earn a small management fee, So if it lowered a client’s ad spend by 40% while boosting sales, it could take a cut of the savings.
If The Ticket Fairy can consistently sell more tickets on less marketing spend, promoters will happily adopt it. It’s a similar strategy to some of the event marketing and analytics tools that EventBrite and TicketFly have launched over the years. But those platforms want you to sell 100 percent of your tickets through them, which isn’t always convenient, and they lack features of The Ticket Fairy’s dedicated tool.
The Patel boys’ startup will have to compete with EventKloud, Eventgrid, and other wide-reaching services. But they often require upfront subscriptions or seem outdated for the mobile and social channels where events are shared today. It also might face direct-to-fan ticketing platforms like Applauze and Songkick, which recently merged with CrowdSurge.
The Ticket Fairy’s biggest challenge, though, may simply be getting access to ticket inventory for great events. That’s what stumped WillCall and led it to get bought by TicketFly. Exclusivity contracts lock up a lot of traditional concerts and sporting events with established ticketers. The Ticket Fairy’s best bet might be fighting for non-standard events like conferences and esports.Luckily, the startup has raised $485,000 from angels including Twitch CEO Emmett Shear, co-founder Justin Kan, COO Kevin Lin, and head of music Colin Carrier, who could certainly help it become the premier ticketing platform for esports events. It’s also taken money from FarmVille creator Amitt Mahajan, Reddit and Hipmunk founder Steve Huffman, Y Combinator, and 500 Startups’ Seed Fund.
We’re amid a shift to the experiential culture. More and more, people want to do things, not own them. We have event discovery apps to find experiences, camera phones to capture them, and social networks to share them. Ticket Fairy just has to connect promoters to the event-hungry masses.
[Image Credit: Almost Famous]