Ticketfly has done it again, raising another eye-popping amount of funding as it pushes ahead as a major disrupter of the ticketing space. Last week, company officials announced that Ticketfly had raised $50 million in Series D funding. To date, CEO and founder Andrew Dreskin has brought in $85 million in investment money for his San Francisco firm that recently passed $1 billion in cumulative sales.We recently caught up with Dreskin to learn more about his company’s growth strategy and find out how his group planned to pursue larger venue clients.
How will you utilize this current round of funding?
We’ll use the proceeds from this financing to continue to execute in our core market and make sure that we’re delivering the products and services that our core constituents want and need. Also, we’ll continue to drive our move upstream into larger facilities — we’ve already been trending in that direction with venues like Forest Hills Stadium and Merriweather Post Pavilion and events like Burning Man.
Aren’t the technology needs of festivals and music venues different from major arenas?
The needs of the largest arenas and stadiums in the U.S. really are the same as the needs of the Brooklyn Bowl and the 9:30 Club. Just on a much grander scale. They both have to effectively communicate with their patrons. They both have to sell unsold inventory and get a better understanding of who the ticket buyer is. Venues are looking to wring out friction from the event-going process. We think that there’s an application for our technology with the largest facilities out there.
A lot of these big arenas have sports teams. Look at AEG, who spent tons of money developing their product AXS to handle both sports teams and concerts. Knowing that their product needed more muscle, they brought on Veritix to handle the sports side. Doesn’t this present a major challenge for your firm?
I don’t think so. We’re in the process now of developing a next-generation reserved seating product, which we believe will be the definitive product on the market, when it’s done. These are not complicated endeavors for us. We think that what we develop elegant, beautiful technology. Quite honestly, we think we can bring a level of innovation unforeseen to the large venues, and promoters in the country, including professional sports teams. We think that, if you look at how season ticketing technology works, there’s just tremendous opportunity for improvement. Just like the product that we delivered to the middle market, we think we’ll have a beautiful product for the largest facilities.
Content is still a big play for both Ticketmaster and AXS. Is it possible for a ticketing company like Ticketfly to compete without a major content partner?
Obviously every facility, whether you’re a 200-capacity night club, or a 19,000-capacity arena needs content. But go back and look at the consent decree that was issued by the Justice Department in conjunction with the Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger. You’re well aware that Ticketmaster and Live Nation would be in violation of the consent decree if they threaten to withhold content in any way. The reality is that artists and events are going play in the facility that is right for the artist or the event. If that happens to be a venue with an AXS ticketing contract, so be it. If it happens to be a venue with a Ticketfly contract, so be it. The reality is that, agents and managers are going to put the act in the building that’s right for them. We know that Ticketmaster and Live Nation would not make threats, either veiled or overt to venues. That would be in violation of their agreement with the Justice Department, who is always keen to hear of any instance where they’ve run a foul of that.
Are you planning to use some of this $50 million to make additional acquisitions?
We’ve been moderately acquisitive to date. We’ve acquired four companies. I think we’re deal guys. I think you could glean that perhaps there could be more of that in our future.
Are you more interested in ticketing companies, or technologies like the WillCall and BarTab apps you acquired last year.
We look at everything. We’re equal opportunity deal guys. We’re always interested in discussions with ticketing companies. We always are having discussions with technology companies as well, outside of the ticketing space. We’re real keen to have discussions with all kinds of companies.