Eventbrite, the billion-dollar event-management platform that some tip for an imminent IPO, has made another acquisition in Europe to build out its presence here, and to move deeper into ticketing services. It has acquired Ticketscript, a startup based out of Amsterdam that offers a popular platform for event organisers to set up and sell tickets online for live events like music festivals and EDM (electronic dance music) raves.
Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but we understand there is a large equity portion and that it was a strong return for investors and the startup. (That in itself is a notable detail that could point to the investors aware that there will be a liquidity event, such as a public listing, sooner rather than later.)
Ticketscript, Eventbrite said, has sold tickets to more than 100,000 events in Europe, including Amnesia Ibiza and Love Family Park in Germany and the Amsterdam Dance Festival.
Indeed, this deal will catapult Eventbrite — which already processed 150 million tickets for more than 600,000 event organisers in 180 countries last year — into working a lot more with larger artistic events, specifically in the area of music, in Europe.
“This acquisition supercharges Eventbrite’s footprint in Europe and brings ten additional years of traction in the music space and experience in European markets to our business,” said Julia Hartz, CEO and co-founder of Eventbrite. “It perfectly aligns with our strategic vision to become the world’s leading marketplace for live experiences, and adds significant assets and technical power to our platform. We are looking forward to this new partnership combining the best solutions from both companies, and bringing them to our customers around the world.”
Ticketscript — which had raised just under $12 million from a single investor, FPE Capital LLP — was started in 2006 (like Eventbrite itself) by Frans Jonker (the CEO) and Ruben Meiland. The pair created the company after complaining that there needed to be a better way for selling tickets to EDM events in their native Amsterdam. (Meiland had also founded Beatfreax, an EDM website where a lot of fans would go to see where their favorite DJs were playing.)
EDM may have had its start as a particular genre of music played at improvised raves and some nightclubs, but it has since become a huge business, possibly event overtaking even gambling in Las Vegas in terms of revenues, by some estimates.
While EDM was largely growing outside of the mainstream world of event organization — which is dominated by large multinationals and companies like Ticketmaster — Jonker and Meiland saw a gap in the market, where no one seemed to “own” the platform for creating and selling tickets to these events.
“There was still one part of the experience where promoters didn’t have any choice: how to sell tickets,” Jonker said. “We believe it’s essential for organisers to be in control of their ticket sales, and we wanted to put them in the driver’s seat.” The growth of the wider EDM market, in turn, led to the growth of Ticketscript. Jonker becomes Eventbrite’s GM with the acquisition.
While services like Ticketmaster are largely focused around taking users to their own site to buy tickets, one unique aspect of Ticketscript is that it lets third parties embed the ticket sales on their own sites and thus keep a better grip on the customer relationship.
“It allows event planners to sell off their own sites rather than give the traffic to anyone else,” said Henry Sallitt, managing partner with FPE Capital, said. “When you get taken away you might decide you want to do something else, instead of dancing go to the theatre, for example.”
It is not clear if Eventbrite will keep Ticketscript’s existing business in place, or if it will have plans to migrate the startup’s customers to its own platform — and website — to find and seal deals. But in any case Eventbrite, and Ticketmaster, are following bigger trends in the market and letting users do more buying wherever they happen to be, for example on Facebook.
More generally, it sounds like the idea here will be bringing much more scale to Eventbrite’s platform to ticket and process ticket sales by bolting on Ticketscript’s existing audience — making the combined company one of the biggest in Europe. For Ticketscript, the company will have more firepower to develop its platform and sell other services alongside ticketing.
“Joining Eventbrite will help us innovate faster than ever before, and empower customers with more control and independence. It’s everything we started ticketscript to do—and now we can accelerate it,” Jonker said.
Eventbrite has made at least four other acquisitions, with one of them in Europe: event data company Lanyrd in London.