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TicketBiscuit Looks Towards Its Next Phase of Growth
What’s next for TicketBiscuit after its $5M funding win?
Posted October 20th, 2016 by Birmingham Business Journal
Birmingham software company TicketBiscuit is looking to a new phase of growth, thanks to a $5 million investment from a Tampa-based venture capital and growth equity firm.
Ballast Point Ventures recently confirmed its investment in the Birmingham ticketing software company, which TicketBiscuit CEO Jeff Gale called an “endorsement.”
“Investors are smart, especially institutional investors like Ballast Point Ventures,” Gale said. “They don’t invest in companies that won’t be good stewards of their money. I take it as an honor to receive that money and go out to put it to good use.”
The deal comes on the heels of funding wins for several other Birmingham companies, a trend local business leaders hope will create a snowball effect and lead to more investor money flowing into the Magic City.
Founded 15 years ago, TicketBiscuit has recorded steady growth and often ranked as one of Birmingham’s fastest growing companies. The company processes more than $100 million in ticket sales annually for customers like music venues, festivals and event centers.
Largely bootstrapped since its inception, TicketBiscuit needed the backing of a good capital partner to push it to the next level.
Echoing a familiar refrain of Birmingham tech experts and executives like Innovation Depot’s Devon Laney and health care startup Pack Health’s Will Wright, Gale said Birmingham companies like TicketBiscuit are hungry for outside capital access like BPV’s investment.
“We’ve got a really great, budding technology ecosystem here,” Gale said. “For the longest time, it’s been about health care and biotech, thanks to UAB and similar companies, but now we’ve got a true high-tech startup community in Birmingham.”
Tech investment appears to be gaining momentum in Birmingham: Shipt recently raised $20.5 million and GI Partners purchased a majority stake in Daxko.
Ballast Point Ventures recently invested another $5 million in Prepaid Technologies, a Birmingham company with major partners like Visa and MasterCard exploring the emerging wearable tech market.
“I’m really proud to have TicketBiscuit following in the footsteps of Shipt and similar companies in Birmingham to help grow this startup community and outside capital,” Gale said. “My hope is that it will get the attention of inside capital.”
TicketBiscuit’s $5 million investment will fund sales force expansion, marketing efforts and new tech development while the company continues to grow its StateChamps app. The company last year rolled out the software suite targeted for high school and amateur athletics.
TicketBiscuit is eyeing a massive opportunity in this market: Gale says high schools represent the largest ticketing market in the country, with some 500 million tickets sold each year.
“By and large, those tickets are paid for in cash, bought by people standing in line 10 minutes before the event,” Gale said.
Gale said high school and amateur athletics continue to use “old school” ticketing because existing modern technology can be too cumbersome and expensive.
Electronic ticketing solutions like Ticketmaster, where you print out your ticket at home and have a bar code scanned at the venue by a door attendant, require back-end support in addition to technology like scanners and employee training.
“It’s difficult to let everyone print their tickets at home if they don’t have this technology at the gate,” Gale said. “Scanners are expensive, flaky, require training and a robust internet connection – high schools don’t have these things.”
TicketBiscuit hopes to disrupt this market with Share and Tear, new technology that puts digital tickets on consumers’ phones. The tickets are authenticated through the StateChamps app: Gate attendants don’t have to validate the ticket any further than “tearing” it in the app with a swipe of the finger. People can also purchase tickets in bulk and distribute them digitally to their kids; no more wrangling families to hand out individual tickets at the gate.
Several hundred schools are currently using the technology across the country, in addition to eight state high school athletics association.
Gale said tens of thousands of people have downloaded the app for use, and TicketBiscuit only plans to grow from here.
“It’s 2016, and it boggles my mind that the largest ticketing market in the country still operates that way,” Gale said. “It’s our mission to change that with StateChamps.”