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TicketSwap: ‘Resale should be fair for everyone’

The price-capped ticket resale platform's CEO Hans Ober tells IQ how the firm plans to capitalise on its rapid international growth

By James Hanley on 07 Jun 2023

Hans Ober

TicketSwap CEO and co-founder Hans Ober says new partnerships will dictate the company’s future expansion plans following a period of rapid growth.

The price-capped ticket resale platform opened offices in London (UK), Sao Paulo (BR), Stockholm (SE), Berlin (DE), Paris (FR), Madrid (ES), Milan (IT) and Krakow (PL) last year after raising US$10 million in funding from venture capital firm Million Monkeys.

The Amsterdam-headquartered firm has attracted upwards of nine million users active in 36 countries worldwide, plus 1.5m registered users in the UK. Partners have included LWE and Secret Garden Party in the UK, Hungary’s Sziget, Netherlands’ ID&T Group, Bootshaus in Germany, Norbergfestival in Sweden and Brazil’s Entourage and Ingresse.

“It’s really important to make sure we focus on the markets we are already in,” Ober tells IQ. “There are some companies that take us with them [into new international markets] and that is great – it is a really good starting point for entering new markets. But for now, we are keeping our focus laser-sharp on the markets we are in to make sure that we do as well as possible.”

“Resale is a huge problem, even today. So we definitely have a value proposition that can add something to the event industry”

Since launching the business in 2012, Ober believes that TicketSwap has served as a force for good in the often controversial secondary ticketing market.

“In the Netherlands and Belgium, we’ve completely turned resale around,” he contends. “Most of the big resale platforms, at least in the Netherlands, are either gone or are fading into the background. Fans are more aware of where to buy tickets and we are working with promoters to make it harder and harder for touts.

“Resale is a huge problem, even today. So with that in mind, we definitely have a value proposition that can add something to the event industry. We think resale should be fair for everyone, and that includes organisers and fans. We want to give everyone a good experience and make the touting platforms’ lives as hard as possible.”

One of TicketSwap’s methods is to work directly with event organisers to offer verified SecureSwap tickets on its platform, which makes the seller’s original ticket invalid while the buyer receives a completely new and unique ticket.

“Often, the solutions in the market have been more oriented towards making big money, but we tend to do things differently,” suggests Ober. “We can definitely make resale completely safe and it’s all bound by our rules – and one of the most important rules is that prices are kept only 20% over face value. That way, we guarantee that people won’t overpay.

“We did a survey in the UK and almost 70% of the respondents were in favour of setting a price limit in the secondary ticket market, so that also emphasises that what we do is the right way.”

“A more and more common part of organising events is to make a rational decision about resale instead of just ignoring it”

Earlier this year, TicketSwap launched FairShare, which divides profits from secondary ticket sales equally between the seller and the organiser of the event. The feature is also designed to discourage ticket dealers who resell tickets for profit, as the profit margin for them is decreased.

If an event organiser chooses to use FairShare, the profit on a resold ticket – which at TicketSwap is a maximum of 20% – is split between them and the seller.

“There is always a challenge that people can still make a little bit of money, with [more expensive tickets] that 20% can add up quickly,” explains Ober. “So we introduced FairShare, so that way an organiser also gets a piece of it because, at the end of the day, they are the ones taking the real risks.

“Our biggest opportunities are in the fields where organisers want to have control over their tickets. A more and more common part of organising events is to make a rational decision about resale instead of just ignoring it – it’s now part of the whole sale strategy and we can definitely play a big role.”

He concludes: “For us, first of all, the high season is coming with all the festivals throughout Europe, so we are focusing on making sure everything goes well and as many tickets are being safely resold as possible. In the meantime, we already have to start preparing for the after-season to make sure we have partnerships lined up for after the summer.”


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