Eventbrite in Europe – CTO Renaud Visage talks expansion, new tech and local rivals

Renaud Visage
Renaud Visage

Renaud Visage

Online ticketing agent Eventbrite has a few tricks left as it expands in Europe. We catch up with co-founder and CTO Renaud Visage during a recent trip to Berlin to talk shop. 

Eventbrite co-founder and CTO Renaud Visage is a familiar face at startup events in Europe – speaking at hy! Berlin, wandering past at The Europas, judging pitches at MIDEM, mentoring at Seedcamp and Le Camping

His company is becoming more familiar now too. Eventbrite, founded by husband-and-wife duo Kevin and Julia Hartz in 2006, recently released figures to show it processed 36 million tickets worth a combined $600 million gross last year. At least in July last year, though, about 80 per cent of its sales still took place in the US.

Seeing that as a red flag for growth potential, Eventbrite launched localised versions in eight European countries last year. So what stage is the company at in Europe?

“We’re at the very beginning,” Visauge said during a recent trip to Berlin. “We have lots of events in the UK but elsewhere, it’s a different story… We’re really focused this year on making those markets work for us.”

Eventbrite versus Amiando – “I feel the momentum is in our favour”

One of the most established rivals for Eventbrite in Germany is Amiando, which sold to German professional network Xing in 2010. Amiando recently announced over 100 per cent growth year-on-year and a cumulative total of 180,000 events organised worldwide, with about two-thirds of that activity in Germany.

“They’ve been in the market for a long-time so it’s normal that they’re the established incumbent in Germany,” Visauge said. “We’re fully aware of that.”

He doesn’t sound too worried though: “We are seeing our name more and more, in the tech space at least. I feel the momentum is in our favour.”

Eventbrite Berlin

Building up Eventbrite in Berlin

Part of the strategy in Germany is to appoint people on the ground. In Berlin, Tech Open Air co-organiser Nikolas Woishnik is now on-board as a marketing consultant (pictured above, with mic, at a meetup this week for event organisers at Betahaus).

“Over the next months we will focus on growing and supporting the community of event organisers, especially within the tech and startup ecosystem,” Woishnik told us. “We have seen great organic growth in Germany…”

Up next – more mobile, more recommendations, more tech

Worldwide, there’s quite a bit coming up for Eventbrite as it chases profitability. The company plans to go after bigger events (traditionally the realm of rival Ticketmaster).

On the tech side, expect updated mobile apps. “We want them to be the best tool out there to discover events, so we’re investing a lot – creating recommendations that are tailored to you that are pushed to your phone so that you don’t have to think about where you want to go next,” Visage said.

Eventbrite

At some point, the company wants to bring its real world “At the Door” payment solution to Europe – a “Square-like” attachment for the iPad that allows organisers to take payments.

As for that rumoured IPO, there are no concrete plans in place just yet. “We’re working towards bigger numbers, better numbers, growth, keep the momentum going  – last year 60 per cent year-on-year growth,” Visage explained. “We feel the IPO field is pretty volatile – one month it’s good, one month it’s not, so we don’t want to make big plans until we’re ready for it. If we do an IPO, it would have to be a good one.”

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