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Property tycoon Nick Candy invests in Vibe Tickets

British property developer Nick Candy has invested more than £2 million in UK ticket resale firm Vibe Tickets, acquiring a 23% stake in holding company Vibe Group.

Candy – who with his brother Christian is behind projects such as One Hyde Park and NoHo Square (now Fitzroy Place) in London – is funding his investment in Vibe through his private fund, Candy Ventures. Vibe’s founder and CEO, Luke Massie, remains the majority shareholder.

Lancashire-based Vibe was bought out of administration by Massie, in 2018, and he later gifted equity in the new company to its original investors. Other shareholders include Scott Fletcher MBE and investment firm Vela Technologies.

Candy’s investment will support Vibe’s new mobile payments platform, Vibe Bay, according to Business Cloud, as well as Vibe Tickets, a community-orientated ticketing marketplace.

“We are gathering momentum at an incredible pace”

Says Massie: “This is a significant milestone for the Vibe Group. To have the backing [of] Nick Candy and his experienced team at Candy Ventures, as well as the continued support from Scott and Vela, is a huge endorsement for the brand.

“We are gathering momentum at an incredible pace and making major progress in product development. We always put the consumer first and build products that add value to their everyday lives.”

“I recognise a lot of entrepreneurial qualities in Luke that I know are crucial for a tech start-up to achieve great things,” adds Candy. “He has identified real demand from consumers and developed some game-changing products.

“Candy Ventures is excited for the potential of this investment.”


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Ex-Ticketscript exec joins Vibe Tickets

Hannah Morris, Ticketscript’s former head of sales in the UK and Republic of Ireland, has joined Vibe Tickets as commercial director.

Based in Vibe’s London office, Morris – whose other experience includes senior roles at Groupon and video production company Dreamtek – will lead Vibe Tickets’ commercial strategy and “play a key role in […] accelerating its monetisation plans”, according to the company.

Morris’s hiring is the first for Vibe since the events of May 2018, when the resale platform was forced into administration as a result of cashflow problems, before relaunching as a new limited company later that month.

“I’m incredibly excited to have joined Vibe at such a monumental time in its journey,” she comments. “The team is one of the most passionate and talented I’ve met. They have a desire to innovate and provide consumers with a genuine alternative choice within the ticketing industry.”

“Hannah is a great fit for Vibe with our big ambitions to change the marketplace”

Despite Vibe’s recent difficulties – which also include an abandoned attempt in late 2017 to transition from a social, ‘ethical’ ticket marketplace into a more conventional secondary ticketing platform under a host of ex-Ticketmaster execs, all of whom have since left – founder Luke Massie says the company “continues to grow as consumers are becoming more aware of the industry’s failings”.

“We have a real belief that if we are going to solve all of the issues in the secondary market, then we need to solve problems in the primary as well,” says Massie. “Hannah is a great fit for Vibe with our big ambitions to change the marketplace for the benefit of fans.

“Hannah’s appointment is one of a number of significant decisions we’ve made in recent months as we respond to unprecedented interest in Vibe’s overall vision. We expect to announce more important news in the coming weeks.”

Morris’s former company, Ticketscript, was acquired by Eventbrite in January 2017.


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Vibe founder to gift equity in new company to crowdfunders

Vibe Tickets founder Luke Massie is to give away shares in his new company to investors in TheVibe Ltd, which was forced into administration earlier this month.

Vibe raised more than £600,000 in late 2016 through crowdfunding site Crowdcube, and Massie says gifting equity in his new vehicle, Vibe Tickets Ltd, to backers of the crowd sale is “the right thing to do”.

“This is a gift from me, personally,” he says. “Those investors are who Vibe stands for. They put their faith in me over other start-ups raising cash. They helped make Vibe happen. I owe them for that.

“I’m just reciprocating the support they’ve given to me because they deserve better than the situation they were left in. They deserve to be looked after and to have their investment honoured.”

Under the new arrangement, the crowd investors have the opportunity to opt in to receive the newly offered shares, which will be offered proportionate to their original investment in TheVibe Ltd. The shares are being gifted from Massie’s personal equity.

The crowdfunders who opt in to accept the equity offer will sit alongside Scott Fletcher MBE, who has committed £500,000, and Vela Technologies, which has promised £200,000, with Massie saying he’s close to agreeing terms with a major new investor in the coming weeks.

He continues: “This is a hugely exciting time for Vibe – we’re free from the shackles that were stifling our progress and we’re working on some significant developments. I want the crowd to share in all that, because that’s what they bought into in the first place.

“we’re free from the shackles that were stifling our progress”

“Since the moment my second offer was accepted to buy back the business, it’s been my intention to do the right thing by the crowd. The sensitivity of the situation meant it took longer than I’d have liked to put things in place – seeking the best advice on how I could execute my plan to best benefit investors took time, and looking after the Vibe team had to be top of my agenda.

“The last seven days have been the most testing of my life so far. I’ve watched conversations, based on misinformation and total inaccuracies, play out in the media and observed while others peddle their own agendas at my expense. It’s taken every inch of me to remain tight-lipped because I’ve known that, had I gone against advice and spoken publicly about my experience, I’d have jeopardised my plans to turn this situation around for the crowd.

“My actions speak louder than their words. While others have used my age as a weapon to insult me and tarnish my name, ironically it’s their immaturity that’s stoked the fire in me to pull this off.

“I’ve had to go against the grain to make this happen – most people thought I was crazy to suggest it. But I’ve pushed hard, I’ve insisted, I’ve justified my thinking and, as I always have, I’ve done things my way.”

Massie declines to comment on the specifics of The Vibe’s demise, although IQ understands a restrictive agreement with an early investor left the company unable to look elsewhere for funding.

“I can’t go into any detail about the events that led to The Vibe Ltd facing administration, but I will say Vibe was backed into a corner and the administration was forced upon me,” he concludes. “It’s been a huge distraction which we’ve moved on from now. I refuse to dwell on it.

I’ve got work to do and the next stage of the journey starts now, with the continued support of the crowd.”


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Vibe Tickets hires former Ticketmaster, Sky execs

Lancashire-based Vibe Tickets has made three new hires, bolstering its London-based team following the recent opening of a new office in the UK capital.

Steph Maxwell and Daniel Gould, who between them have more than 13 years’ combined experience working in live entertainment, join Vibe as senior business development managers, while social marketing veteran Chelsea Sargautis joins as senior social strategist.

Maxwell worked at Ticketmaster’s Get Me In! secondary marketplace between 2011 and 2014 and joins Vibe from Encore Tickets, where she worked on some of the biggest shows in the West End. Gould similarly worked for Ticketmaster’s resale business from 2013 to 2015, and was most recently commercial account manager at the now-defunct Sky Tickets.

Sargautis, meanwhile, was most recently a content producer at digital marketing agency Wunderman UK.

“Vibe Tickets offers a fresh, new product in what is a broken industry,” comments Gould. “Fans aren’t happy with the way the secondary ticketing market currently operates, and we’re here to change that.”

“Each have profound industry experience … that will prove crucial in improving and raising awareness of Vibe’s offering”

Vibe operates a “transparent and fair” ticket marketplace, although unlike rival services such as Twickets it doesn’t cap resale prices at face value.

Cornel Lazar, Vibe’s marketing director, says: “Since opening the London office, I’ve been recruiting the best talent from across the sector to strengthen our dynamic team. We need individuals who are invested in our mission to turn the live events industry on its head and have their fingers on the pulse when it comes to new innovations.

“Steph, Daniel and Chelsea each have profound industry experience and a strong reputation that will prove crucial in improving and raising awareness of Vibe’s offering, as well building on our early successes as a fan-first social marketplace.”

Vibe has raised £1.7m in investment to date, including more than £600,000 from a crowdfunding campaign that wrapped up in October.


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Viberate, live music cryptocurrency, prepping ICO

Viberate – a blockchain-based ‘live music marketplace’ that aims to “do for music what Airbnb did for tourism” – is gearing up for an initial coin offering (ICO) of US$12 million worth of Vibes, the first cryptocurrency aimed specifically at the live music industry.

The ‘crowdsale’ of 200m Vibe tokens, which have a base price of $0.10, runs from from 5 September to 4 October, and follows more than $1m worth of investment in the Ljubljana-based start-up since April 2016.

“The main difference” between Viberate and other music-focused cryptocurrencies, says co-founder and COO Vasja Veber, “is that those services operate in the recorded music segment, whereas Viberate focuses on the live segment.

“We are not interested in the world of recorded music, royalties and copyright. It’s an interesting field and in definite need for help, and we hope that our fellow founders in Musiconomi, Voise, Opus and others will give the massive recorded music market a much needed kick in the butt and let musicians make money again by producing good music.

“[But w]hat we are interested at is giving musicians an opportunity to charge for their gigs in cryptocurrencies. We want to do for music what Airbnb did for tourism.”

“There is a clear need for an entity that would effectively and safely represent all those who don’t have a privilege of an agent”

In addition to allowing touring musicians to be paid in Vibes, Viberate – as detailed in its white paper – aims to offer artists, promoters and agents a blockchain-based alternative to what it calls a “heavily centralised” industry dominated by “a few major talent agencies”.

“Musicians need agents in order to land enough gigs to make a living, and most of the musicians don’t stand a chance of getting spotted,” it reads. “Only a fraction of a percent of all the world’s musicians have proper representation and are lucky enough to have music as their primary source of income. The rest are left on their own, struggling with exposure in a heavily saturated market, dealing with marketing, sales, networking, legal, taxation and debt collection issues instead of focusing on the creative part of the music business. […]

“There is a clear need for an entity that would effectively and safely represent all those who don’t have a privilege of an agent. Blockchain technology offers the best tools for this task.”

For event organisers, the platform gives promoters a helping hand in staying “on top of trends in live music” and provides them with a constantly evolving roster – which may also be supplied by booking agencies – of “interesting musicians”.

“A good event organiser in a busy city can organise up to three or four events weekly with several musicians on the line-up. Such frequency soon leads to the organiser not knowing who to book next. An event organiser’s product is a ticket, and their primary goal is to sell as many tickets as possible. To do this they need a good programme and a good ticket sales channel.”

“80% of all musicians in the world are unsigned … We want to be their agent, and we’ll offer them the tools they need to become successful performers”

In both scenarios, says Viberate, the solution is a decentralised, blockchain-based database of artists, promoters, agencies and venues that allows each party to communicate with, and book, the others at will, “regardless of genre, country, fame level or gig history”.

Commenting on the upcoming ICO, Veber tells Cointelegraph: “We don’t expect the big guys to jump on the bandwagon right away. But they were never our target group anyway, and we don’t expect Justin Bieber or Coldplay to be ready to accept Bitcoins or Vibes in exchange for their services.

“Our main target group has always been the underdogs: Local musicians, low-profile garage bands, who need a place to offer their performances to promoters and clubs. And those are usually younger people, millennials, who are quite fond of cryptocurrencies. They are our true ambassadors and there’s a lot of them. We estimate that around 80% of all musicians in the world are unsigned, meaning they don’t have an agent to represent them.

“Now we want to be their agent, and we’ll offer them all the tools they need to become successful performers and make a living by doing what they love.”


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