Magazine article Management Today

How We Beat the Odds: Julia & Kevin Hartz, Eventbrite, Founders of the Online Ticketing Platform

Magazine article Management Today

How We Beat the Odds: Julia & Kevin Hartz, Eventbrite, Founders of the Online Ticketing Platform

Article excerpt

When we started Eventbrite in 2006, we took no salaries for almost two years and worked in a cramped office in San Francisco that we shared with other start-ups.

We funded the business ourselves and worked 80-hour weeks, although we slowed down when we had our first baby in 2008.

Starting a tech company during a recession may seem like a risk, but in fact it was a terrific time. There was an unmet need and a huge market for people wanting to create their own events. From the start, we decided our only revenue source should come from ticket fees. We charge 2.5% plus 65p per ticket, which is quite low, considering the average fee is 15% in traditional ticketing, and for free events we charge nothing.

Investment came as Eventbrite started to take off in 2009, when the introduction of the Facebook timeline and the rise of Twitter pushed more people to the site. We raised dollars 6.5m initially, which we used to expand the team from 30 to over 100. To date, we've raised dollars 140m in total and we now have 250 staff working in California and London, where we opened an office in October 2011. This year alone, we'll sell dollars 1bn worth of tickets for events ranging from cupcake-making classes to the Jersey Live Festival.

The seedy underbelly of the internet has created some of our biggest challenges. Because of the nature of our business, we're exposed to hackers and money launderers. An event could be hosted by a seemingly legitimate organiser, but who is actually using the site to launder money by purchasing tickets with stolen credit cards. …

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