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TickX appoints new chairman Laurence Marlor

Event and ticket search engine TickX has announced Laurence Marlor, co-founder of car hire site Rentalcars.com, as its new chairman.

As co-founder and chief marketing officer, Marlor helped grow Rentalcars.com into the world’s leading biggest online car rental retailer, offering cars in more than 60,000 locations. It was acquired by Booking Holdings, which owns Booking.com, Agoda.com and OpenTable, in 2010.

He later became a non-executive director of Goldcar, which was bought by Europcar, and holds the same role at Sykes Cottages, last week acquired by Skyscanner/JustEat backer Vitruvian Partners.

Founded in the UK in 2015 by Steve Pearce and Sam Coley, TickX simplifies the process of finding and buying tickets by comparing over 100 ticket sellers, including Ticketmaster, Skiddle and Eventbrite. Last year it received £3 million investment from venture-capital firms BGF Ventures and 24Haymarket, and has since expanded into several European markets.

“The travel market shares a lot of characteristics with our industry, so Laurence’s expertise and guidance gives us a significant boost”

“TickX represents an amazing opportunity for me to work with Steve, Sam and their very talented team to help them fulfil their vision to be the premier global platform for entertainment tickets,” comments Marlor.

Pearce, TickX’s CEO, says the addition of Marlor to the team will help the company, which aggregates tickets to music, cinema, comedy and more, become a market leader in the “trillion-pound experience economy”.

He comments: “We are delighted to welcome Laurence as our new chairman. His vast experience building some of the world’s largest consumer-facing brands in the travel industry will be invaluable as we step up our international growth.

“The travel market shares a lot of characteristics with our industry, so Laurence’s expertise and guidance gives us a significant boost as we drive towards becoming the global go-to destination to search and book entertainment tickets.”

 


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TickX launches in the Netherlands

UK-based ticket search engine TickX today launched in the Netherlands, amid a period of expansion in mainland Europe.

The Dutch market is the fourth where TickX has a presence, and follows the hiring of CMO Paul Kirwin and a recent £3m investment round aimed at turning the platform into “global go-to destination for entertainment lovers across the world”, says the company.

Adding to its existing partnerships with the major international ticket sellers, including Ticketmaster and Eventbrite, TickX has partnered with regional ticket sellers in the Netherlands, including Tiqets and Nationale Theatrekassa, for the launch of TickX.nl.

“Now is the perfect time to launch in a new market, and the Netherlands is an ideal location”

Steve Pearce, TickX CEO, says: “We’ve spent the last few months growing our team and improving TickX to give our customers the best possible experience when searching for and buying tickets for events and attractions. Now is the perfect time to launch in a new market, and the Netherlands is an ideal location.

“The country has some of the most diverse and unique entertainment in the world and we’re delighted to bring TickX to the Netherlands, giving customers across the country the most transparent way to search for and buy the best-priced tickets in one place.”

The Dutch launch follows a commitment to launch TickX further across Europe. In addition to the Netherlands, the site is currently available to customers in the UK, Ireland and, most recently, Spain.

 


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TickX hires CMO to lead push into Europe

Ticket search engine TickX has appointed Paul Kirwin as its first chief marketing officer (CMO).

Kirwin, who joins from fitness club chain PureGym, will be responsible for all of TickX marketing initiatives, including the UK-based company’s expansion into mainland Europe following its recent £3m investment round.

“I’ve been aware of TickX for some time and the growth of the business since they launched is impressive,” says Kirwin. “There is a massive opportunity for a billion-pound aggregator to break the entertainment ticketing industry and that’s where I believe we can take TickX.

“I’m delighted to join the team at this exciting time and can’t wait to start the challenge.”

“Marketing will play a key role in taking TickX to the next level”

Steve Pearce, CEO and co-founder of TickX, adds: “We couldn’t be happier that Paul has joined the TickX team. Marketing will play a key role in taking TickX to the next level as we target rapid international expansion in the coming months, and we’re pleased to have hired one of the best marketing professionals in the country to help achieve our goals.

“At PureGym, Paul’s ground-breaking marketing, acquisition and brand strategies helped grow a young company to market leader in just a few years. We’re excited to work with Paul as he leads the TickX marketing team to help achieve our mission of becoming global go-to destination for entertainment tickets.”

Joining TickX alongside Kirwin is Rory Burns, who has been appointed performance marketing director. He was formerly head of performance marketing at ecommerce start-up the Hut Group.

 


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TickX integrates with NME.com

Ticket search engine TickX has been named exclusive ticketing provider for newly digital-only music magazine NME, integrating its ticket widget into the NME.com site to allow readers to buy tickets for shows and festivals.

The new partnership follows last week’s news that the UK-based site has raised £3m in investment to fund expansion across continental Europe.

Steve Pearce, CEO of TickX, says: “We’re extremely proud to be partnering with one of the most iconic brands in entertainment to bring NME’s millions of loyal readers the chance to discover and buy the best available tickets for their favourite artists. This year has started off with a bang at TickX HQ and we’re looking forward to announcing more exciting new developments in the near future.”

“We’re extremely proud to be partnering with one of the most iconic brands in entertainment”

In becoming NME’s ticketing partner, TickX joins the likes of StubHub and Vivid Seats – which have deals with ESPN and Vox Media, respectively – in integrating their inventory into popular websites. The partnership, says TickX, will give NME readers “all the available options for tickets in one place without having to leave NME.com”.

“The partnership between NME and TickX is a natural fit as we aim to provide our visitors with the best value and choice when buying tickets,” adds the mag’s digital director, Keith Walker. “NME fans are passionate about live entertainment, and with TickX powering our ticketing our audience will now find the best-priced tickets available for the artists they love.”

 


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TickX to launch across Europe with new £3m investment

UK ticket search engine TickX has revealed plans to accelerate its push into the continent after raising £3m in a series-A funding round.

The Manchester-based company – which launched in Spain last September, joining existing operations in Britain and the Irish republic – says it will put the money towards international expansion, revealing plans to launch in “even more European countries” in the coming months, as well as investing in technology, adding cinema tickets to its platform and growing its team to 35 staff.

The funding round was led by BGF Ventures, the UK’s largest venture-capital firm, which is an also an investor in mobile ticketing platform Dice. Existing investors 24Haymarket and Ministry of Sound also increased their stake.

TickX, which aggregates tickets for more than 125,000 events from major ticket agencies, including Ticketmaster, Skiddle and US-based Headout, made headlines in 2016 after turning down £75,000 in funding from BBC’s Dragons’ Den. It has now raised 40x the amount offered by the ‘dragons’.

“The new funding will drive us towards becoming the go-to destination for experience-lovers across the world”

“Over a million event-goers last year discovered that TickX is the only place they need to go to discover experiences and buy the best tickets,” says CEO Steve Pearce. “Now, our focus is firmly on international expansion and leading innovation in the multibillion-pound global experience market. The new funding from BGF Ventures and our other fantastic investors will drive us towards becoming the go-to destination for experience-lovers across the world.”

George Mills from BGF Ventures adds: “We are both proud and excited to be backing Steve, Sam [Coley, CTO] and the whole of the TickX team.

“We’ve been seriously impressed by their ambition and pace in building the company, and we’re confident that TickX will continue to expand and reach their goal of becoming the global go-to platform for discovering experiences.”

 


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TickX launches in Spain

UK-based ticket search engine TickX today launched a localised website for the Spanish market, TickX.es, in partnership with the country’s biggest ticket sellers.

“We’re really pleased with TickX’s growth since we appeared on BBC’s Dragons’ Den,” explains CEO Steve Pearce. “We have secured funding from incredible investors, expanded our team and introduced new innovations to service our growing customer base.

“Now is the perfect time to launch TickX in a new market, and Spain is the ideal location, with a rich variety of musical and cultural events across the country. We’re excited to give customers here full transparency to discover what events are happening, who’s selling tickets and who is the cheapest all in one place for the first time ever.”

“Now is the perfect time to launch TickX in a new market, and Spain is the ideal location”

TickX’s new customers in Spain can use the platform to find music, comedy, sports and theatre tickets from a total of 50 sellers, including market leaders Ticketmaster, Ticketea, Atrapalo, Entradas.com (CTS Eventim) and department store group El Corte Inglés.

TickX, dubbed the Skyscanner or GoCompare of live events, has raised close to £1m in funding since 2015, including £175,000 from Ministry of Sound and further investment from 24Haymarket and former Sky chairman Nick Ferguson. The company’s existing websites (in the UK and Republic of Ireland) now boast 175,000 active users per month, and it recently launched the first ticketing chatbot for Facebook Messenger.

 


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TickX unveils world-first Messenger chatbot

UK tech start-up TickX – the ticket search engine, or ‘Skyscanner for live events’, which last year turned down £75,000 in funding from BBC’s Dragons’ Den – has taken the wraps off its first Facebook chatbot, which it hopes will revolutionise the ticket-buying process.

Developed by a team led by Aayush Chadha, an 18-year-old student of artificial intelligence at the University of Manchester, the bot plugs directly into TickX’s search engine, allowing users to search for tickets to more than 70,000 events from 35+ sellers without ever leaving the Facebook Messenger app.

“The benefits to users are twofold,” Sam Coley, TickX’s co-founder and CTO, tells IQ. “Firstly, chatbots make it quicker and easier to get answers to complex questions. For example, you can ask TickX, ‘When is the cheapest ticket to see The Lion King in July?’, and one second later have the answer and link to compare and buy tickets. The second benefit is that millions of people spend hours on Facebook Messenger each day, so now they can click straight into TickX in one click – [there are] no apps to download, and no need to open a website.”

TickX is the first event ticketing company to take advantage of conversational commerce on the Facebook Messenger app, which has more than 1.2 billion monthly users.

“You can ask TickX, ‘When is the cheapest ticket to see The Lion King in July’, and one second later have the answer and a link to buy tickets”

The launch of the new bot – which goes live on 1 June – follows the pilot launch of a chatbot for Skype by StubHub last August, although the StubHub app is restricted to its own marketplace (one of many crawled by TickX). Seattle start-up ReplyYes, meanwhile, has made a success of selling merch and vinyl via standard text messages.

Coley says the feedback to the beta version of the bot has been “incredibly positive”, although he reveals the company, which is backed by £925,000 in private-equity funding, is already working on its next innovation.

“This Messenger bot really is just the first step for us in making it easier to search events and compare tickets,” he explains. “Over the next few months, alongside continuing to improve our Facebook application we’ll also be rolling out to voice-based assistances such as Amazon Alexa.”

Watch the chatbot in action below – or try it for yourself at m.me/tickx.uk.

 


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Ticketing Skyscanner TickX raises £750k

Price comparison website TickX was shown declining all offers from the investors on BBC’s Dragon’s Den at the weekend, so how has the business fared since?

The episode was filmed in May, when founders Steve Pearce and Sam Coley asked for £75k funding in return for 5% equity in their business. It would have been their second round of investment after securing £175k in 2015 from a round that was led by the Ministry of Sound Group.

On Dragon’s Den, two investors offered £37.5k for 10% of the business, while another offered the whole £75k in return for 15%. However, Pearce and Coley declined, deciding to hold firm on giving away no more than 5% equity.

Since then, the duo have raised 10 times the amount of investment they asked for with a second round of £750k that was led by London-based 24Haymarket.

TickX has gone from attracting 18,000 to 100,000 monthly active users, increasing sales revenues twenty fold since January last year. In September, industry veteran Tim Chambers was named a non-executive director.

The company makes money from commission earned for referrals, and Pearce and Coley, who are still majority shareholders, aim to become the Skyscanner of event ticketing.

One of the concerns the Dragons raised was over the ability to turn TickX into a household name without a multi-million pound marketing budget. Pearce responds by saying there’s a “huge focus on providing the absolute best music experience possible, and because of that we are finding that word of mouth is growing the platform.” Additionally, a combination of search engine optimisation, marketing and targeted advertisement on social media “is working very well for us,” he adds.

Coley explains: “From a user perspective we provide as much transparency in the market as possible. We help event-goers see what’s on and who’s selling the cheapest ticket.

“From a live music perspective, we are helping promoters and artists sell out their shows by providing a marketing channel for them to reach a new audience.”

“From a live music perspective, we are helping promoters and artists sell out their shows by providing a marketing channel for them to reach a new audience.

“Most events don’t sell out and we want to fill those seats and venues.”

Tickets are aggregated from both the primary and secondary market, and are listed according to price.

Coley says: “We don’t prioritise sellers based on how much commission they pay us, we do it by the price of the ticket so our users know they are getting the best deal.”

Ambitions for 2017 and beyond are launching in Ireland and other European territories, and the US is on the horizon.

Tech features like event and artist tracking, as well as interactive seating maps are also in the works.

“It’s going to be a few years before everyone knows about us, but things like Dragon’s Den are very good PR, three million people watched that episode,” says Coley.

“We’ve got to change user behaviour so people understand that it’s worth comparing prices and make TickX synonymous with searching for events.”

“We’ve got to change user behaviour so people understand that it’s worth comparing prices and make TickX synonymous with searching for events.

“We expect to do another funding round to accelerate our service a lot faster into Europe and beyond over the next few years.”
 


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Tim Chambers joins hackathon-winning TickX

Industry veteran Tim Chambers has been named a non-executive director of UK ticket search engine TickX.

Chambers (pictured) – formerly a senior executive at Live Nation/Ticketmaster, where he founded TicketWeb, and now an independent ticketing consultant and executive editor of the International Ticketing Yearbook – comments: “It’s a great honour to join TickX as it experiences tremendous growth and development here in the UK and as we consider opportunities further afield for TickX’s event search engine technology.”

“We’re very proud to have Tim on board and we know that his wide acknowledge experience and expertise will be of huge value to our fast-growing business”

Steve Pearce, TickX’s CEO, adds: “As a young team we’ve put a huge amount of focus on surrounding ourselves with best investors, advisors and mentors, and they don’t get much more knowledgeable than Tim. We’re very proud to have him on board and we know that his wide acknowledge experience and expertise will be of huge value to our fast-growing business.”

TickX, founded by Pearce and Sam Coley with backing from Ministry of Sound, took home first prize at Ticketmaster’s recent API Devjam ‘hackathon’ for an “event inspiration” app for smart TVs, developed in four and a half hours.

 


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