The Ticket Fairy is tech’s best hope against Ticketmaster

Ticketmaster’s dominance has led to ridiculous service fees, scalpers galore and exclusive contracts that exploit venues and artists. The moronic approval of venue operator and artist management giant Live Nation’s merger with Ticketmaster in 2010 produced an anti-competitive juggernaut. It pressures venues to sign ticketing contracts under veiled threat that artists would otherwise be routed to different concert halls. Now it’s become difficult for venues, artists and fans to avoid Ticketmaster, which charges fees as high as 50% that many see as a ripoff.

The Ticket Fairy wants to wrestle away from Ticketmaster control of venues while giving fans ways to earn tickets for referring their friends. The startup is doing that by offering the most technologically advanced ticketing platform that not only handles sales and check-ins, but acts as a full-stack Salesforce for concerts that can analyze buyers and run ad campaigns while thwarting scalpers. Co-founder Ritesh Patel says The Ticket Fairy has increased revenue for event organizers by 15% to 25% during its private beta focused on dance music festivals.

Now after 850,000 tickets sold, it’s officially launching its ticketing suite and actively poaching venues from Eventbrite as it moves deeper into esports and conventions. With a little more scale, it will be ready to challenge Ticketmaster for lucrative clients.

Ritesh’s combination of product and engineering skills, rapid progress and charismatic passion for live events after throwing 400 of his own has attracted an impressive cadre of angel investors. They’ve delivered a $2.5 million seed round for Ticket Fairy, adding to its $485,000 pre-seed from angels like Twitch/Atrium founder Justin Kan, Twitch COO Kevin Lin and Reddit CEO Steve Huffman.

The new round includes YouTube founder Steve Chen, former Kleiner Perkins partner (and Mark’s sister) Arielle Zuckerberg and funds like 500 Startups, ex-Uber angels Fantastic Ventures, G2 Ventures, … Read the rest

Fastly pops in public offering showing that there’s still money for tech IPOs

Shares of Fastly, the service that’s used by websites to ensure that they can load faster, have popped in its first hours of trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company, which priced its public offering at around $16 — the top of the estimated range for its public offering — have risen more than 50% since their debut on public markets to trade at $25.01.

It’s a sharp contrast to the public offering last week from Uber, which is only just now scratching back to its initial offering price after a week of trading underwater, and an indicator that there’s still some open space in the IPO window for companies to raise money on public markets, despite ongoing uncertainties stemming from the trade war with China.

Compared with other recent public offerings, Fastly’s balance sheet looks pretty okay. Its losses are narrowing (both on an absolute and per-share basis according to its public filing), but the company is paying more for its revenue.

San Francisco-based Fastly competes with companies that include Akamai, Amazon, Cisco and Verizon, providing data centers and a content-distribution service to deliver videos from companies like The New York Times, Ticketmaster, New Relic and Spotify.

Last year, the company reported revenues of $144.6 million and a net loss of $30.9 million, up from $104.9 million in revenue and $32.5 million in losses in the year ago period. Revenue was up more than 38% and losses narrowed by 5% over the course of the year.

The outcome is a nice win for Fastly investors, including August Capital, Iconiq Strategic Partners, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and Amplify Partners, which backed the company with $219 million in funding over the eight years since Artur Bergman … Read the rest

Ticketmaster put an end to screenshots with new digital ticket technology

Ticketmaster is turning to new technology to help fight ticket fraud. The ticketing giant today unveiled its next-generation digital tickets, “Safetix,” which are tied to the ticket holder’s mobile device through an encrypted barcode that automatically refreshes every few seconds. The tickets will also support NFC technology, allowing fans to enter venues through a “tap and go” experience.

The company says ticket holders will later this year be able to add their contactless ticket to Apple Wallet, so they can enter a venue with their iPhone or Apple Watch. This will also involve the use of proximity-based technology which automatically selects the tickets when the phone is held near the ticket reader.

Apple and Ticketmaster already tested SafeTix this month during the fintech conference Transact, Ticketmaster says. SafeTix, it says, is the first time it has ever rolled out NFC-based ticketing at scale.

The combination of new technologies is meant to cut down on ticket fraud.

Today, unscrupulous resellers take screenshots or photocopies of tickets that they then sell multiple times over to unsuspecting victims. Because the barcodes now automatically refresh, a saved photo won’t work.

In practice, however, this may inconvenience some people who previously enjoyed the ease of screenshotting the ticket, then sending it to a friend — something that’s a lot faster than using the transfer feature on Ticketmaster’s website and in its app.

The change could also complicate things at venue check-in as users fumble with their phones to figure out how their new passes work — at least in the near-term.

For fans, the change means they’ll have to transfer tickets to friends, or anyone else they’re selling a ticket to, using the recipient’s phone number or email address. As a result, Ticketmaster gains visibility into the custody chain of each ticket, it notes. And … Read the rest