Eventbrite, the nine-year-old, San Francisco-based online ticketing platform, wants to do much – much – more for its customers once they’ve actually arrived at an event venue.
Its newest initiative: wristbands.
It’s more interesting than it sounds – and potentially very lucrative.
Some backstory: Eventbrite recently (quietly) acquired a small Canadian RFID chipmaker called Scintilla Technologies for an undisclosed amount. We’re guessing this was an acqui-hire; asked about whether the company will remain in Canada, Eventbrite VP of Product Laurent Sellier offers only that three of Scintilla’s engineers have moved to San Francisco.
What the new tech allows Eventbrite to do, first and foremost, is help speed up attendees’ entry into events. In those cases where they may be a VIP, it also enables them easy access into those parts of the show or festival where they might otherwise have to produce special credentials.
It’s great for consumers. Now attendees of major food or musical festivals who might have had to wait in a long line to have their tickets scanned can instead buy a ticket online, wait for the wristband to arrive at their home, and walk right into the venue the day of the event.
The wristbands work whether or not there’s power or WiFi. If an attendee forgets his or her wristband, event organizers can simply give them another, using an earlier Eventbrite sales processing technology called Neon to program the wristband.
The bands are a win for event organizers, too. They get happier attendees, and they’ll receive even better analytics from Eventbrite, which can help them track attendee movements at an event.
Not last, the new wristbands are a way for Eventbrite to make more money off each attendee. To wit, it has struck a partnership with BestRing, a point-of-sale technology company that works with merchants on cashless transactions. Through that deal, attendees who’ve registered their credit cards with Eventbrite can now buy whatever they like at an event with the simple tap of their wristband.
Sellier isn’t disclosing what kind of cut Eventbrite will see. He does say that down the road, Eventbrite is hoping to bring the same technology to sports venues, where people really rack up ancillary charges on merchandise and food.
Other future capabilities might center around sponsors (imagine tapping your wristband at a booth and providing information about yourself in exchange for a drink), as well as deeper social media integration. (Tap a terminal and take a picture of yourself and your friends that gets beamed to Instagram — or something along those lines.)
In the meantime, Eventbrite — which has raised roughly $200 million from investors and was valued at north of $1 billion during its last round in March 2014 — will continue to broaden its reach. To date, the company has processed more than $3.5 billion in gross ticket sales and more than 200 million tickets in more than 180 countries. That breaks down to around 2 million tickets each week.
For more on the “future of the on-site experience” as imagined by Eventbrite, click here.