BGF Ventures leads ticket search engine TickX’s £3M Series A

TickX, a U.K., Manchester-based startup that has developed a search engine and discovery platform for events and other “attractions” tickets, has raised £3 million in Series A funding.

The round is led by BGF Ventures, the early-stage venture arm of BGF, which has been going through a restructuring that saw three partners depart this week. Existing investors Ministry of Sound, and 24Haymarket, also participated.

Founded in mid-2015, TickX might best be thought of as building a ‘Skyscanner for tickets’. The site aggregates ticket listings from over fifty providers and across multiple categories, letting you do things like search by price, geography and entertainment/attraction type.

The concept was conceived while co-founder and CEO Steve Pearce was a student at university and born out of his frustration planning nights out, as students are wont to do.

“The idea for TickX came about whilst I was studying at Manchester University and like most students going out far too often,” he says. “However, during my time there I became increasingly frustrated with the efforts involved planning a night out and continued to be amazed there was no single destination to discover experiences (events, attractions & cinema)”.

This compared especially unfavourably to booking a flight or hotel, where sites like Skyscanner and put everything in one place. “When searching for what’s on at the weekend it seems crazy that until TickX you had to trawl through far too many venue & promoter websites and far too many ticket sellers to discover what events were happening, who’s selling tickets and who’s the cheapest,” says Pearce.

Thus TickX allows customers to find and buy tickets for over 125,000 events and attractions from all the major ticket-selling platforms, including Ticketmaster, Headout and Skiddle. The U.K. startup says its mission is to become the “one-stop global destination for entertainment-lovers across the world looking for the best tickets”.

(Fun fact: TickX pitched on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den TV program and turned down three offers of £75,000 from the Dragons, which, given today’s Series A, looks like a pretty smart decision.)

I’m told the new investment will be used for international growth in more of Europe. TickX is already live in the U.K., Ireland and Spain. The startup is also adding cinema tickets to its database of events and attractions, and plans to continue investing in its tech.

Adds Pearce: “Last year over a 1 million people used TickX to plan a day or night out and we have a real wide variety of users. Some use us to discover new experiences given we have unrivalled inventory covering everything from arena tours to hidden gems so they can always find something fun to do at TickX. Others use us to compare ticket prices to ensure they find the best deals across our 50-plus ticket partners. Whereas some use us simply to track their favourite artists, comedians or teams so you can be alerted when they are playing near you or when prices drop”.

Meanwhile, the TickX business model is simple enough. The site is completely free for users and the startup doesn’t charge the end user any additional fees. Instead, it receives a commission on each sale generated via TickX from ticket partners as a reward for helping them reach a wider audience and driving incremental sales.