Eventbrite CEO Julia Hartz: IPO Was Always Part of 'Dream Plan'

September 20, 2018

By Carlo Versano

Eventbrite ($EB), the online ticketing company, rode the experience economy to an impressive stock market debut on Thursday. The platform's IPO, with shares priced at $23, the high end of its targeted range, implied a valuation of nearly $1.8 billion. By midday, the stock was trading over $37.

Co-founder and CEO, Julia Hartz, told Cheddar Thursday that an unrelenting focus on the company's "creators" ー those who start events on the platformー is the backbone of her business.

Over its 12 years as a private company, Eventbrite has been able to carve out a niche as a platform that these creators have come to rely on.

And as both consumers and marketers have shifted to an "experiential model" that values live events, Eventbrite has established itself in a unique mid-market space without competition from ticketing juggernauts like Live Nation or its subsidiary, Ticketmaster, Hartz said.

A careful but forceful acquisition strategy ー Eventbrite acquired nine companies over seven years, including Ticketfly ー has allowed the company to fend off Facebook. At least for now.

Eventbrite counts such social media platforms as both competitors and partners. Hartz noted that the business, and the creators that use it, depend on social media for distribution ー as do people who find events on their social feeds, buy tickets on Eventbrite, and in many cases become creators themselves. Hartz called that kind of network effect a "flywheel," which she said is critical to the business model.

Most of Eventbrite's revenue comes from the fees it charges creators for the tickets they sell, though the company is not yet profitable.

Speaking to Cheddar in a separate interview on Eventbrite's IPO day, chief brand officer Brian Irving pointed to the 4.5 billion tickets bought globally.

Consumers are no longer satisfied spending their disposable income on "stuff," and there's only so many expensive concerts a year one can attend.

That's why the focus on the creator is so crucial to the brand's evolution now that it's a public company, both Irving and Hartz said. Whether it's barbecue festivals, goat yoga, or the latest craze of "selfie museums," Eventbrite wants to be the platform that connects creators to audiences.

"Our focus is to put the right event in front of the right person at the right time," Hartz said.

For full interview click here.