AudienceView acquires Vendini
Ecommerce company AudienceView, which provides event management and marketing tools to more than 2,000 venues, sports teams and other organisations globally, has acquired ticketing platform Vendini for an undisclosed sum.
Together, Toronto-based AudienceView and San Francisco’s Vendini, an all-in-one ticketing and box-office management platform, currently process US$3 billion worth of ticketing and fundraising transactions globally, and sell more than 100m tickets on behalf of some 8,000 venues. Combining the two enables AudienceView “to expand offerings in key markets through a powerful range of software, services and audience-development solutions”, according to a AudienceView statement.
“With AudienceView, OvationTix, TheaterMania and WhatsOnStage, we have been able to help live events organisations successfully achieve their individual missions and business goals by increasing revenue, enabling efficiencies, engaging audiences and attracting new attendees for our customers,” says Mark Fowlie, CEO of AudienceView. “Vendini has successfully built a similarly unique value proposition.
“Our ability to bring these innovative solutions together will provide a significant boost in value through incremental offerings for providers of all types of live entertainment.”
“I’m thrilled this combination will allow us to continue to grow in our key markets, provide additional strategic support to existing clients and ensure their success over the long term,” adds Mark Tacchi, founder and CEO of Vendini. “The opportunity was too unique and powerful to pass up.”
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Vendini hires first chief people officer
Vendini has appointed Susan Hollingshead its first ‘chief people officer’ (CPO).
Hollingshead, who joins from solar power company Sungevity, will “play a vital role as we continue to grow, recruit new talent and ensure that Vendini’s core values resonate with everyone on our team,” says Mark Tacchi, CEO of the San Francisco-based ticketing and event marketing firm.
Vendini, which topped US$2bn in gross sales in September and recently raised $20 million in series-A funding, looks to “jumpstart 2017 with continued progress under Susan’s leadership”, adds Tachi, who says the company’s success is “owed to our kick-ass employees and our infectious culture”.
An increasing number of companies, especially tech firms, are hiring a CPO, which is roughly equivalent to a chief human resources officer.
“Vendini’s success is owed to our kick-ass employees and our infectious culture. Susan will play a vital role as we continue to grow”
Writing on LinkedIn in 2014, Reputation.com founder Michael Fertik admitted chief people officer is “a title with the potential of sounding a little precious, like the ‘vice-president of happiness’, ‘brand evangelist’, ‘digital overlord’ or other Silicon Valley labels that dress up what are really garden-variety gigs”, but said the position isn’t a “phone-it-in role – nor is it a cutesy name for the traditional human resources function. It’s a strategic shift in how we think about people, culture and enterprise value over the long term at a company.”
At Sungevity, Hollinghead oversaw the company’s growth from 50 to more than 1,000 in a six-year period.
“As Vendini grows, I want to ensure that its culture thrives, providing a rich environment for employee development and commitment,” she comments. “A skilled and dedicated workforce will amplify Vendini’s commitment to outstanding customer experience. Through developing a comprehensive HR [human resources] and shared services function, employees will be more energised and our members will continue to flourish.”
Vendini last summer launched a strategic business unit (SBU) for live music, headed up by Ticketmaster and AEG Live alumnus Mark Meyerson.
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Vendini signs up two new partners
Ticketing and event marketing company Vendini has bulked up its fledgling live music division with two new partners: Red Bull Canada Ltd and Piknic Électronik.
Piknic Électronik, a Montreal music festival which has expanded to include events in Dubai, Melbourne and Chilean capital Santiago, and Red Bull Canada join other recently signed-up clients including San Francisco nightclubs Love + Propaganda and Audio and Chicago blues club Buddy Guy’s Legends.
“We partnered with Vendini because we wanted to make it easier for people to see who’s playing and to buy tickets,” explains Anthony Moser, Buddy Guy’s Legends’ director of online sales and social media. “We had relied mainly on door sales, and Vendini helped improve our advance ticketing numbers.”
“The growth we have seen is exciting, but it is just the beginning for us”
Commenting on the new deal, Vendini’s vice-president of live music, Mark Meyerson, says: “Since forming the music business unit we have been able to use the amazing platform and infrastructure Vendini has built over the last 15 years to hyperfocus on live music. Vendini will continue to innovate the entire process – from discovery to ticket purchase, event entry and customer interactions at the event and even after. Add that to a dedicated team just for the music industry that is experienced with live venues, promoters and festivals, and you have the reason so many new members have switched to Vendini.
“The growth we have seen is exciting, but it is just the beginning for us. We’re doing the work every day to build for the future.”
San Francisco-based Vendini announced last month it had topped US$2 billion in total sales.
Vendini tops $2bn in sales
Event ticketing and marketing platform Vendini has hit US$2 billion in gross sales.
The San Francisco-based company, which began as a ticket agency for college and small theatre venues, reached its first billion in March 2015, 14 years after its founding.
Chief revenue officer Keith Goldberg attributes the success to a number of recent acquisitions, including rival ticketer Charged.fm, and the company’s bringing aboard of “some of the best design and programming heavyweights; people with a passion for and knowledge of the live event industry”. In the past year, he adds, Vendini has signed up “hundreds of new venues”, including 41 in the college theatre sector alone, including the Cumberland County Playhouse in Crossville, Tennessee – one of the largest theatres in rural America.
“With recent acquisitions, we’ve assembled all the software and platform pieces the underserved mid-sized venue needs for ticketing, fundraising, subscription sales, logistics, marketing and patron management”
New festival customers, meanwhile, include the Atlantic Film Festival and Canadian promoter This is Blueprint.
“Several things have enabled us to fill the gap in the ticketing industry which until now has been the underserved mid-sized venue,” says Goldberg (pictured). “With recent acquisitions, we’ve assembled all the software and platform pieces these venues and event promoters need for ticketing, fundraising, subscription sales, logistics, marketing and patron management.”
Mark Tacchi, Vendini’s CEO and founder, says the company’s future lies in adding new marketing, fundraising and customer relationship management (CRM) components for all its served markets. “Vendini is making it easy for our members to create a powerful ticket-selling loop,” he comments.
Zerve veterans find a new home
Vendini has made several new appointments, hiring software engineering, product management and customer support staff from defunct travel ticketing platform Zerve, which ceased trading last month.
The San Francisco-based ticketing company, which last month established a live music business unit under ex-House of Blues chief Mark Meyerson, says the new hires are part of a long-term strategy to expand its reach into “small- and mid-sized performing arts festivals, live music and nightclubs, museums, comedy, sports, universities and more”.
“I’ve formed close relationships with my team at Zerve over the years and there’s a lot of value in keeping it together”
“Never a quitter, I look forward to finishing what I started at Zerve here at Vendini,” says new senior director of engineering Nitin Ahuja (pictured), formerly vice-president of engineering at Zerve, which offered ticket-booking services for bus and walking tours, sailing trips, food and wine tasting tours and more for holidaymakers. “I’ve formed close relationships with my team at Zerve over the years and there’s a lot of value in keeping it together.”
“While much of the attention around Zerve’s closing has been focused on the land-grab for former customers, Vendini has been able to identify and acquire the shuttered company’s formidable talent,” says Robert Ayala, managing director of corporate development at Vendini. “Nitin’s been described by those he’s worked for as that rare breed who combines engineering brilliance with phenomenal managerial skills, and the talented group he is bringing with him have a reputation for creating true innovation in the ticketing space.”
The future of live music event ticketing
The pace of change over the last ten years in the music industry and ticketing make the challenge of predicting the next ten a perfect exercise in silliness. I have seen tech fads come and go, and sometimes never even come – anyone remember when two-way paging was going to revolutionise the market? – so what to do?
Our team at VMusic, the strategic business unit within Vendini focused on live music, knows that the technology of the future needs to succeed in accentuating, amplifying and accelerating the essential and timeless quality experiences that live music can bring. This is the excitement of discovery, the power of social connection and sharing, the experience of art and the freedom of rock and roll. At the very heart of the matter for us is our focus on developing tools that widen the possibility of discovery and narrow the gap between commitment and purchase and give our members the tools to understand their audience and how to best reach them with compelling experiences.
The challenge is tough. I’m sure many of you already know first hand that it’s not easy to get the right show to the right people at the right time. Most venues and promoters are buried in ‘data’ and still really use a tiny fraction of what they have.
Most venues and promoters are buried in ‘data’ and still really use a tiny fraction of what they have
I kind of get things right every once in awhile, but I can’t pretend I’m a fortuneteller. What I can tell you is a few things I know for sure about the future of ticketing.
Customer experience will remain a priority, and content-rich multi-platform sites and communication channels will be among the tools venues use to inform and entice concertgoers to get the hell out of their homes. I can also tell you that strategic partnerships will continue to be paramount for live event businesses that want to widen distribution channels and meet the fan where they live.
At VMusic, we have already started to think about the way our tools and technology will evolve. We’re looking at how we can innovate the entire process – from ticket purchase, to event entry, to customer interactions at the event and even after. For most live event venues, the focus will be on implementing horizontal tools that make it easy to share socially and allow organic curation among groups of friends and possibly wider groups from there. As leaders in this industry, we have to constantly improve the purchase process to make it easy and intuitive. A big part of that innovation is really thinking about how we can make our software even more intuitive and seamless for our members. Their experience of creating and selling tickets for an event should be as easy as it is for the patron to buy a ticket from them.
Companies in our industry will be creating post-event tools to capture other meaningful transactions, such as digital ‘nightbooks’ that include pictures, videos, sounds and posts from the night
As patrons become more active and interactive on their mobile devices, they have the power to open doors to revenue for a venue. I foresee companies in the live event ticketing business creating more event tools to enhance and share the experience. Obviously, this can be a rich source of data that can be used by our members to make better offers and enhance sponsorship opportunities. But since I have been a promoter and a venue operator, as well as now being on the provider side, I strongly urge our members and all producers out there to weigh the value they are providing their customers versus how they are using this rich trove of data.
I would also bet companies in our industry will be creating post-event tools to capture other meaningful transactions. This could be as simple as digital ‘nightbooks’ that include pictures, videos, sounds and posts from the night. Patrons could be prompted with follow-up opportunities to spark engagement with the venue or the artists – or even something transactional, like buying a T-shirt.
Ultimately, the core value of live music events will remain the same. Live events will always be about feeling the excitement, anticipation and discovery that comes with a new experience. Live events will always be a place where people can connect and feel like they belong; the only thing that will really change is how we amplify that experience. Bet on the technologies and the companies that are focused on doing that and you don’t really have to predict the future – you will be creating it.
Mark Meyerson is vice-president of live music at Vendini. He was formerly GM at CrowdTorch, which Vendini acquired in December 2015, and has served spells at Ticketmaster, AEG Live, House of Blues and Bill Graham Presents.
Vendini acquires Charged.fm, launches live SBU
Vendini, a San Francisco-based provider of ticketing and marketing solutions for live events, has hired industry veteran Mark Meyerson to head up a new strategic business unit (SBU) “hyperfocused” on the live music business.
Meyerson (pictured), formerly general manager of ticketing firm CrowdTorch, which Vendini acquired in December, is tasked with selling Vendini’s technology into music venues and festivals across North America, allowing them to “sell more tickets, improve event promotion, gain deeper customer insight, manage patrons and more”, says the company.
Prior to joining CrowdTorch, Meyerson, Vendini’s new general manager and vice-president of live music, served spells at Ticketmaster, AEG Live and Bill Graham Presents, among others.
“We’re incredibly excited to have formed this SBU, and we’ve already begun making moves in the live music industry. We have the solutions music venues need and they’re not getting anywhere else”
The launch of the new SBU comes around two weeks after the acquisition by Vendini of Charged.fm, a Brooklyn-based primary and secondary seller of tickets for music, theatre, comedy and sporting events.
“We’re incredibly excited to have formed this strategic business unit, and we’ve already begun making moves in the live music industry,” says Meyerson. “We have the solutions live music venues need and they’re not getting anywhere else. We’re giving them the ammunition and attention they need to operate with the same efficiency and effectiveness as a massive arena.
“Vendini is ready to grow and innovate aggressively. Forming the music business unit allows us to hyperfocus on live music while taking advantage of the overall support structure and product development teams we have built in the overall business. I get to manage a team of all stars who have risen to the top from the core business and our two acquisitions of Inticketing and CrowdTorch.”