A Q&A with TicketForEvent co-founder and Board member Hennadiy Netyaha. The London–based company was founded in the Fall of 2011 and closed a $3 million Series A funding round in early-December from Abele Ventures.
SUB: Please describe TicketForEvent and your value proposition.
Netyaha: TicketForEvent is an online registration and e-ticketing service for event organizers targeted for lucrative, yet problematic, markets with lots of hurdles. The service is adapted for the needs and specific challenges which CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States] and Turkish markets offer. Local TicketForEvent teams have extensive experience and a well-grounded understanding of each of the market’s specifics.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Netyaha: Our target audience—event organizers—are mainly concentrated in Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. These are the markets which present lots of difficulties for ticketing services from Europe and the USA. They usually beware of entering these markets, which is a plus for us.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Netyaha: Unfortunately, we have competitors. They are the main players in the field of ticketing services, who already share the event market and have wide range of possibilities to have a stable development while introducing new features to the clients. They are no secret—Eventbrite, Cvents, Amiando, Ticketfly, etc. Still, we have an obvious competitive advantage—they feel lots of hurdles to work in the CIS countries. We all know that there are many other ticketing services, but at the moment TicketForEvent is the leader in its segment.
SUB: What differentiates TicketForEvent from the competition?
Netyaha: As I’ve already mentioned, our competitors, big or small, feel difficulties working in the CIS market. On the contrary, our team completely understands the market and knows how to deal with it. And of course, our service is adapted to satisfy the needs of the CIS. Take more than 90 payment options alone. We offer all possible local payment methods in addition to international ones. There also difficulties with accounting process in the market, and we also provide this facility to our customers—they highly appreciate it, I must say. For example, a well-known VMware also cooperates with us due to the TicketForEvent team’s local experience—we managed ticket sales for their Cloud Foundry Open Tour in Moscow and Kiev. VMware has another traditional ticketing partner from the USA, but when it came to organizing event in Russia and Ukraine, it couldn’t handle the processing appropriately here. On the contrary, we offered all possible local payment methods for them and full accounting support, which is also a kind of hurdle in this market. And this is proof for us that we are ready to face the competition in Europe and attract a good market share.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Netyaha: TicketForEvent was launched in September, 2011, but the idea itself and first developments came a bit earlier. First steps were made in Russia and Ukraine. The main goal was to win first big customers. Anyway, we didn’t start from scratch. Among our projects is also a well-known event affiliate network ExpoPromoter, which is also targeted for event organizers, so the team had experience and background working in the events market. It was helpful and gave a rapid start for TicketForEvent.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for TicketForEvent? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Netyaha: The idea came up after a couple of requests from ExpoPromoter customers to provide them with a service for ticket sales. After some polls among event organizers, studying the competitors and ticketing market we figured out the concept and understood where we should concentrate to win best market share.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story behind it?
Netyaha: The idea of the name is very simple—we knew that it should capture the essence of the service, be simple and rememberable. When there were only seven people in the team we made a brainstorming to choose the best name. And after a few discussions, TicketForEvent was considered to be the best name for the service.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Netyaha: Actually, without any exaggerations the whole CIS market itself is an obstacle. Regulative policies of the CIS countries, specifics of laws and regulations in business and labor relations, tax legislation and tax administration, and specifics of accounting considerably differ from the ones in the USA and the European countries. These CIS standards create an administrative barrier for a dynamic development of the companies. That’s why local mentality and ways of doing business are not understandable to most of the companies of other jurisdictions.
SUB: You recently raised $3 million in Series A funding. What are your plans for the funds?
Netyaha: Yes, this is only Series A and we consider it to be a great achievement. The money we have raised from Abele Ventures will help us quickly expand the service, develop new features and move into new lucrative markets. Our near-term plans are to cover the markets of Eastern Europe. After that, in about year, we will go on expanding to conquer the rest of the European countries. At the moment we already have customers in the UK, Austria, The Netherlands, Germany, and even in the USA.
SUB: Why was this a particularly good time to raise funding?
Netyaha: It was just the right time for us. We had a couple of funding offers but we’ve never been in a hurry to raise investments. You know, in the early stages of development you are likely to raise less than you could a slightly later. Only after you show the results and what you’re worth, you get a wide choice of propositions. Abele Ventures had an appropriate offer in the right time. It was a match of time, desires and possibilities from both of the sides.
SUB: How does the company generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Netyaha: Event organizers set up the TicketForEvent service and start registering attendees and selling tickets. And we charge commission only for the result—our revenue is generated from every registration made and every ticket sold in the TicketForEvent system. As for the planning, we evaluate the turnover of the future events according to all the contracts signed.
SUB: What are your goals for TicketForEvent over the next year or so?
Netyaha: Now we are expanding horizontally into the entertainment and sports event market and geographically into the regions I’ve already mentioned. Of course, we take into account the rapid development of technologies and we have some plans to be implemented in the area of mobile fit. Now we have enough possibilities to do that. We are developing mobile apps and of course plan to be part of Apple’s Passbook. There are also some ideas that we keep in mind or that are already on the stage of implementation by our IT-department, still I wouldn’t like to share them now—you will see everything after it’s ready.
TicketForEvent – www.ticketforevent.com