The event ticketing platform Eventbrite has been used in Germany’s startup and tech industry for a while. However, it didn’t take off as quickly into other verticals. To change that, the company will now open an office in Berlin, Renaud Visage, CTO and co-founder at Eventbrite, will announce at Bits & Pretzels in Munich today.
He also spoke to VentureVillage about the company’s goals for 2015, Eventbrite’s financial situation, and why the German market is difficult to enter.
Visage: “The local connection is critically important for the German market”
In 2012, Eventbrite launched its German website at the same time that it launched in many other European countries. In Germany, other verticals (besides tech) took more time to gain traction than other markets.
“We learned that we need a team on the ground,” says Visage. This is Eventbrite’s first office in a non-English speaking country. In personal conversations with event organizers, Eventbrite understood that Germans fancy personal contact, a team and support staff to communicate in German with. “The local connection is critically important for the German market,” Visage stresses.
As the startup is strong in tech and startup conferences and events, Eventbrite will now focus on other verticals. “Looking at the data, there is a large number of food and wine events popping up,” Visage says. Besides those, festivals, music events, and conferences are also on the list.
After launching the German website in 2012, it soon became clear that it needed adjustments, such as additional payment options. These have now been made so that the product is ready to be pushed back onto the German market.
In total, Eventbrite hired a team of nine people, including Marketing Manager Sandro Spiess who previous filled that position at Xing Events in Munich.
Taking into account learnings from the past two years, Eventbrite plans to enter more German cities one by one.
To make the offer more attractive to first time users, Eventbrite will cut the fees for priced tickets (free tickets don’t come with fees anyways) for the next four months.
Becoming profitable and event discovery in the U.S. in 2015
As at every company, there is a long list of goals for this year. “In 2015, we will work on coming closer to becoming profitable,” Visage says. Through process optimization, costs and the number of employees in the company is well balanced, Visage says. With an overall funding of $200 million (the last $60 million were raised in March 2014) there is also no need to raise another financing round, he adds.
But besides financial goals, there is also a new product focus. While it has been mostly known to be an event and ticketing organization tool until now, the company wants to join the event discovery market and become the leading marketplace in finding the right events. As the platform is widely distributed in the U.S., this service will be available there first. European countries will follow as soon as more verticals gain more traction.
Competition is out there: Vamos, a startup based in Berlin-Mitte, is one of them. Also, sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and platforms like amiando (acquired by Xing in 2010) want to make sure customers get what they didn’t know they were looking for, sell tickets, collect data, and in the end become number one.
Though many events are recommended through friends or people with common interests, the variety and relevance of events can still be improved. With a company as large as Eventbrite, it will get interesting in the industry.