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TicketSwap raises $10m in first funding round

Price-capped ‘ethical’ ticket marketplace TicketSwap has raised US$10 million in new funding from Amsterdam-based venture-capital firm Million Monkeys.

TicketSwap, also headquartered in Amsterdam, will put the money towards expanding into new countries while reinforcing its presence in existing markets, the company says. TicketSwap has ticket resale partnerships with more than 6,000 events worldwide, including DGTL (Amsterdam), Sziget (Budapest) and Hellfest (Clisson, France).

“We are delighted with our first funding in the existence of TicketSwap”, says founder and CEO Hans Ober. “Instead of having to take a step back due to Covid-19, we can now accelerate our growth.

“We are expanding to new markets and improving the quality of our service. Million Monkeys has a lot of experience in building marketplaces like ours.”

“Million Monkeys has a lot of experience in building marketplaces like ours”

The funding will also allow TicketSwap to accelerate the development of new features, continues Ober –for example, new ways to handle scarce tickets for high-demand events, to which end TicketSwap is trialling a raffle technology that would allow more people to have a chance to enter and an increased chance to get a ticket.

It is also building technology to understand fans’ needs better, allowing them to recommend personalised events. “We want TicketSwap to become more than a marketplace for tickets”, says Ober. “It will be a part of the anticipation for an event or day trip. TicketSwap will develop into an app that people like to use regularly to discover new artists and shows, not just when they are looking to buy tickets.”

Over five million fans have used TicketSwap, which caps the resale price at 20% above face value, to buy and sell spare tickets since the company’s launch in 2012.

 


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TicketSwap expands network with Portugal’s Boom

Amsterdam-based resale platform TicketSwap has announced a partnership with long-running festival, Boom.

The partnership includes integration with their ticketing company Weezevent, which allows TicketSwap to void a sold ticket and instead issue new tickets to buyers.

This Secure Swap integration ensures that fans can buy and sell quickly and easily, while providing visibility to the festival organiser.

The partnership with Boom marks TicketSwap’s first foray into Portugal and follows recent launches in Italy and Brazil.

“It’s great to have such a prominent partner for Portugal as we continue on our mission to be the experience platform that every fan loves”

“We are delighted to be working with Boom Festival,” says TicketSwap CEO Hans Ober. “The event is spectacular and people travel from all over the world to be there. We are very pleased to provide a safe and transparent way for fans to sell their tickets at a fair price.”

“TicketSwap have been expanding at a pace. We have set up an office in Brazil, launched in Italy, and we’re hiring our first local staff in the UK, Sweden, and Germany. It’s great to have such a prominent partner for Portugal as we continue on our mission to be the experience platform that every fan loves.”

The 25th edition of Boom festival will take place on 22–29th June 2022.

The event, which takes place every two years, has been ‘exceptionally popular’ on TicketSwap, with nearly 4,000 people registering for tickets and almost 500 tickets sold in the first three days.

 


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TicketSwap expands with two senior hires

Amsterdam-based fan-to-fan ticket marketplace TicketSwap is expanding its leadership team with two senior hires ‘in anticipation of strong demand’ for live music this summer.

Margriet Rijff joins the company as COO and Oscar Kriek takes on the newly-created position head of business strategy.

Rijff was formerly a senior executive at beauty booking platform Treatwell, where she helped grow the platform in 11 countries through launches, mergers and acquisitions.

As COO of TicketSwap, Rijff will oversee operations across all markets from the Netherlands to Brazil and facilitate the platform’s ‘aggressive expansion’.

“I am very pleased to be joining such a talented team with an amazing culture,” says Rijff. “The company has great potential to help music fans and event organisers. I’m particularly excited to help TicketSwap grow internationally, and make buying and selling second hand tickets easy, transparent and safe around the globe.”

“We have consolidated in order to get through the last year. Now, as events start to pick up, we are stepping up”

Under the role of head of business strategy, Kriek will bring a wealth of knowledge to further enhance the data, insight and services TicketSwap can offer its partners.

Kriek is a mainstay in the Dutch music industry and has experience working with artists, events, venues and most recently in business strategy at See Tickets Benelux.

In addition, he leads the Tech Programme for Amsterdam Dance Event, bringing in various high profile thought leaders over the years such as the CTO of Amazon.

“It’s great to have Margriet and Oscar on board,” says TicketSwap co-founder and CEO Hans Ober.

“Like so many in the live entertainment space, we have consolidated in order to get through the last year. Now, as events start to pick up, we are stepping up. Margriet and Oscar bring a wealth of experience running and expanding international businesses. Together they will really help us forge ahead in our mission of becoming the world’s favourite place to buy and sell tickets.”

The two senior hires signal a rebuild for the Dutch ticket marketplace after making redundant 30% of its workforce in May 2020 due to the financial impact of the coronavirus.

 


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Local Legends aims to raise millions for European venues

Ethical resale website TicketSwap has teamed up with Cosimo and GoFund me to launch a new crowdfunding campaign aiming to raise millions for music venues across Europe that are struggling under the financial strain of Covid-19.

The campaign will launch on Wednesday 18 November on crowdfunding platform GoFundMe and will aim to raise €2.5 million for over 250 venues before Christmas.

Venues in the UK, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Austria can sign up now and will receive fundraising guides, practical tips and customisable visual assets. Venues can more information here.

“Government support across Europe varies dramatically, and many venues – especially clubs – have fallen through the cracks,” says Chris Carey, head of international marketing at TicketSwap and author of UK Live Music: At a Cliff Edge report.

“It’s never easy to ask for help, but there is a local audience who would help if they knew how. This campaign exists to focus public attention on venues, and engage with fans so they can help in a practical way.”

“This campaign exists to focus public attention on venues, and engage with fans so they can help in a practical way”

Merlijn Poolman, night mayor of Groningen and founder of Cosimo, added: “These venues are key for artist development, but they are also key institutions in their local communities. As well as creating a local scene, they create jobs and stimulate demand for restaurants, bars and hotels nearby. More than that, they create an identity in a city that the city will fight to save.”

John Coventry, international director at GoFundMe says: “The live music sector has been hit incredibly hard already and – as future lockdowns take effect – we want to do all we can to help venues weather the storm. Importantly venues don’t have to hit a fixed target before they can withdraw funds, giving them maximum flexibility.”

The campaign has received backing from numerous associations across Europe including Association For Electronic Music, Live DMA, Night Time Industry Association and Music Venue Trust.

Live DMA, a European live music network comprising 16 member countries, published a report in September which estimates a €1.2 billion loss in audience income for the 2,600 music venues it represents.

 


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TicketSwap lets go nearly a third of staff

TicketSwap, the Amsterdam-based fan-to-fan ticket marketplace, is letting 30% of its staff go, becoming the latest live music company to make cutbacks due to the impact of the coronavirus.

TicketSwap ended 2019 in a strong financial position, says the company, “with a sizeable financial buffer in place and a clear growth strategy”, and the start of 2020 saw it bolster its workforce in anticipation of a strong summer festival season. But with the summer calendar in the Netherlands and elsewhere now empty, the firm was forced to implement cost-saving measures, including pausing remuneration for execs and reducing budgets across all departments.

“As the full extent of the coronavirus impact became clear, and with the EU suggesting that large-scale events would be the last thing to return to normal, further action was necessary and staff cuts were inevitable,” reads a statement from TicketSwap. “While the NOW support from the Dutch government certainly helped the company, it was not sufficient […] and did not allow the business to keep going at its current state.”

TicketSwap, which has users in 22 countries, says the lay-offs fall most heavily on the marketing and customer support departments, “since these teams handle day-to-day activity, which has stopped almost entirely”.

“It is a very sad day for TicketSwap, but we know we are not the only ones hurting”

The staffing reduction, which takes TicketSwap’s workforce back to early 2019 levels, comes as the company seeks loans and other funding and investment opportunities to help it weather the pandemic. The company remains fully owned by its founders.

TicketSwap CEO Hans Ober (pictured) says: “It is a very sad day for TicketSwap, but we know we are not the only ones hurting. Festivals, venues, event organisers, artists and everyone behind the scenes is hurting badly.

“The fans are hurting, too, and it’s imperative that the government does all it can to support the creative sector through this remarkably difficult time.”

Other companies known to have made redundancies during the Covid-19 outbreak include Cirque du Soleil, Paradigm Talent Agency, Eventbrite, StubHub and Endeavor/WME, while many more industry professionals are temporarily furloughed.

 


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Chris Carey joins TicketSwap as head of intl marketing

Ethical secondary ticketer TicketSwap has appointed music industry analyst Chris Carey as head of international marketing.

As the founder and CEO of London-based Media Insight Consulting, Carey has worked with clients including Spotify, Sony and the O2 Arena. Prior to starting the consultancy firm, he served as global insight director at EMI Music and Universal Records.

In 2015, Carey founded the future-focused FastForward Music Conference in Amsterdam, later launching editions in London and Sydney.

Carey will bring experience in marketing, research, data analysis and consumer insights to aid TicketSwap’s marketing and growth strategy.

“I’m excited to bring my background and industry insights to TicketSwap and bridge the gap between talent, events and the secondary ticketing marketplace,” says Carey.

“I’m excited to bring my background and industry insights to TicketSwap and bridge the gap between talent, events and the secondary ticketing marketplace”

“TicketSwap’s marketplace offers the best fan experience and is rapidly growing internationally, and I am thrilled to be a part of that success story.”

“We have been on a steep growth journey since we started six years ago and I’m proud to add Chris to our team as we continue to professionalise and expand even further,” adds Hans Ober, CEO of TicketSwap.

“I’m excited to see how the combination of his data-driven methodology and international experience will fuel our marketing strategies in 2020 and beyond.”

Over four million fans have used TicketSwap to buy and sell tickets since its 2012 inauguration. The platform caps the price of resold tickets at 20% above face value, working with over 300 partners to help venues and promoters to take more control of secondary ticketing.

 


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TicketSwap to launch in Ireland

Dutch ethical secondary ticketing platform TicketSwap is to launch in the Republic of Ireland.

Amsterdam-based TicketSwap, which caps the price of resold tickets at 20% above face value, bills itself as “Europe’s largest fan-to-fan ticket resale platform”, with more than 2m users in 2017 (including the “magic number” of 100,000+ in both the UK and France).

The company, which recently celebrated its fifth birthday, is also exploring opportunities in America, and last year made its first transaction in US$.

“Irish fans deserve the chance to buy tickets for their favourite events at fair prices”

“Irish fans deserve the chance to buy tickets for their favourite events at fair prices,” TicketSwap CEO Hans Ober says in a statement. “We’ve specifically built our platform around a community of fans that want more freedom to sell their spare tickets directly to other fans, and also want the chance to buy tickets to sold out events without breaking the bank.

“Over five years, our platform has grown into the viable alternative to unsecured, informal sales and touting marketplaces across Europe. We are excited to launch our service in Ireland.”

Irish parliamentarians are set to vote imminently on whether to outlaw above-face value ticket resale, with government believed to be ready to give its backing to the proposal.

 


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Dutch EDM giants partner with TicketSwap

Amsterdam-based secondary ticket marketplace TicketSwap, which caps the price of resold tickets at 20% above face value, has won the backing of some of the Netherlands’ biggest electronic dance music (EDM) festivals and promoters.

ID&T/LiveStyle’s Mysteryland, Sensation, Thunderdome, Welcome to the Future and Amsterdam Open Air festivals, along with Monumental Productions’ Awakenings festival and EDM promoters Q-Dance, Air Events and b2s, are using the company’s Secure Swap platform, which automatically invalidates unwanted tickets and issues new ones personalised with the name of the secondary buyer.

“It’s amazing that’s the biggest Dutch festivals are all getting behind TicketSwap”

TicketSwap, founded in Amsterdam in 2012, is now active in 20 countries and has 1.5 million users worldwide.

“It’s amazing that the biggest Dutch festivals are all getting behind TicketSwap,” comments company co-founder Hans Ober. “This underlines that we are on the right track. It’s really a crowning achievement of our work and shows that we can eliminate ticket fraud and touting.”

 


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TicketSwap launches post-election ‘passport swap’

Dutch secondary ticketing site TicketSwap has hit upon a novel idea in the aftermath of the US presidential election: a passport swap service for Americans fleeing the impending inauguration of President Trump.

The tongue-in-cheek ‘ticket’ listing, dubbed the USA to Europe PassportSwap, so far has 11 people offering up their American passports, but no European takers.

It is, of course, a joke – unless one looks exactly the same as their trading partner and is willing to commit international identity fraud, a passport swap isn’t a good idea – inspired by anti-Trump commentary on social media, a TicketSwap spokeswoman says.

“People here came up with the idea and we just went with it”

“We’ve seen a lot of things on [Facebook] and Twitter, and that is when people here came up with this idea, and we just went with it,” Linde Hertogh tells Deep House Amsterdam.

TicketSwap, a ‘fair’ ticket marketplace on which prices are capped at 120% of face value, recently expanded to the UK.

IQ spoke to several promoters and agents earlier this week about the prospects for the live music industry under a Trump administration.

 


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