Super Bowl MVPs making money from ticket sales—
what an idea as SeatGeek Raises $35 Million From Accel
Following my earlier post about Honest.com and the impact of adding celebrities and marketing to the domain game, SeatGeek is the leading ticket search engine that enables fans to quickly and easily discover the best deals for sports, concert, and theater events. The company’s interactive stadium maps, Deal Score™ and forecasting technology provides fans with the buying intelligence needed to find the best prices from trusted secondary ticket markets and alerts them of the ideal time to purchase tickets.
Founded in 2009, SeatGeek is a venture-backed company based in New York City announced that it has raised a $35 million Series B round led by Accel Partners. Causeway Media Partners, a sports-focused investment fund led by Boston Celtics CEO Wyc Grousbeck, also participated in the round alongside Super Bowl MVPs Peyton and Eli Manning, Nas, Melo7 Tech Partners and other investors.
The $35 million financing will help SeatGeek to grow its team, expand its product and accelerate growth via marketing -- particularly on mobile platforms. Accel Partner John Locke will join the company’s board alongside company founders Jack Groetzinger and Russ D’Souza and David Frankel from Founder Collective. Founder Collective first seeded SeatGeek in 2010.
“SeatGeek is a technology company, not a ticket company. We spent our first four years focused exclusively on building a great product,” said Jack Groetzinger, founder of SeatGeek. “A year ago we began to try our hand at marketing, and were blown away by the results. So for us, this is a natural opportunity for us to get more aggressive in marketing. Still, we weren’t looking to raise money, but when we met John and Accel, we knew it was a great fit. John completely gets what we’re trying to build and sees the future of entertainment the same way we do.”
Since its launch in September 2009, SeatGeek has grown to become a top destination to shop for live event tickets. An award-winning user experience and unique features like interactive stadium maps and the company’s Deal Score value algorithm have helped propel atypical growth. In the month of August, SeatGeek is on pace to drive $13 million of ticket sales – a 50% increase over sales for the month of July. SeatGeek expects to drive over $160 million of ticket sales in 2014.
In particular, SeatGeek has seen robust growth on mobile platforms. SeatGeek’s mobile applications for iPhone, iPad and Android have been downloaded nearly 2 million times, and mobile purchases now constitute 40% of all SeatGeek transactions, with mobile transactions growing at a 70% rate month over month. Over 70% of SeatGeek users access SeatGeek on a phone.
“SeatGeek is quickly becoming the go-to app for buying live event tickets on mobile,” said John Locke, a Partner at Accel who will join the company’s board. “We’re thrilled to join the team as they continue to build the most innovative experiences in the market for fans.”
SeatGeek’s growth and popularity amongst fans has also attracted the attention of several notable organizations and individuals in sports and entertainment.
"It is truly exciting to back the excellent SeatGeek team, together with our friends at Accel Partners,” said Causeway Media Partners Managing Partner Wyc Grousbeck. “The sports and entertainment marketplace is on the cusp of a massive transformation driven by improved technology that enhances the fan experience. In the realm of web and mobile ticketing, SeatGeek is already a leader, and I believe it is very well positioned to shape the industry going forward."
Other participating investors in the Series B round include Stanford University Athletics, Seattle Mariners co-owner and Real Networks founder Rob Glaser, and NBA veterans Shane Battier and Mike Dunleavy Jr. Existing investors, including Mousse Partners and Thomas Lerhman, also participated in the round.