Eventbrite adds former Ticketmaster CEO to board


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A hot ticket among start-ups in San Francisco these days is Eventbrite. The San Francisco ticket-selling company backed by $6.5 million from Sequoia Capital partner Roelof Botha, the same guy who took a gamble on YouTube, is just coming off a successful year in which it had $100 million in ticket sales.

Eventbrite, which has 3 million unique visitors a month, has earned its success by selling tickets to events that are too small for industry heavyweight Ticketmaster, which rules the large venues for sporting and music events. Instead Eventbrite makes it easy to buy tickets for conferences, night clubs, classes, training sessions, reunions and the like. Convenience fees are low, a 2.5% cut plus a dollar per ticket (the industry standard is more like 10% to 15%). The service also allows users to create Web pages for events, promote events and sell tickets on the Web.


‘Selling tickets on our site is as easy as publishing a blog post,’ said Eventbrite Chief Executive Kevin Hartz, a serial entrepreneur who co-founded the company with his wife, Julia Hartz.

Eventbrite’s philosophy is that events are social, so it gives users the ability to share their activities with friends via various social networks and by e-mail. That word-of-mouth helped Eventbrite take off.

The 3-year-old company has such an interesting strategy that it has drawn the interest of one of Ticketmaster’s former executives. Sean Moriarty, the former CEO of the industry leader, is joining Eventbrite’s board of directors. Moriarty, who ran Ticketmaster from 2007 til last March and led its e-commerce efforts, will be a strategic advisor on the events industry.

Moriarty is an entrepreneur in residence at Mayfield Fund and is based in Los Angeles. He said he was drawn to the company’s reliance on social commerce. ‘It’s early-stage but there is a lot of promise there,’ Moriarty said.

Hartz called Moriarty’s addition a “turning point” for the company. “We are thrilled,” he said. ‘He is a great company operator. He certainly knows the events and ticketing space. He also knows the ingredients of how to build big companies. He’s a technologist, he’s a great product person. We are really excited to have him on board.’

-- Jessica Guynn