Eventbrite Passes $1 Billion Mark; Learn from Its Founders on Aug. 7

San Francisco-based Eventbrite clearly doesn’t use summertime as an excuse to slack off on its mission to democratize the event business. In the last couple of months the company has overhauled its iPhone app, geared up its operations in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Portugal, and celebrated passing the $1 billion mark in gross ticket sales (see the video below). Oh—and it got into the music promotion business, becoming the exclusive ticket handler for Disco Donnie Presents, a producer of electronic dance music events that are expected to attract a million fans this year.

Here at Xconomy, we’re longtime Eventbrite users, and we see the company as one of the most interesting pioneers of online-to-offline (O2O) commerce—the use of Internet tools to make life in the physical world work more smoothly. It turns out that people have a stubborn fondness for exchanging goods and services face to face; more than 90 percent of all consumer transactions still happen offline. But there are lots of ways to use software and the net to help people discover these goods and services, and to make the actual transactions more efficient.

Eventbrite co-founders Julia Hartz, Kevin Hartz, and Renaud Visage

That’s what Eventbrite has been doing in the event world since 2006, and that’s part of what we’ll be talking about on August 7 at our next Xconomy Xchange event, Eventbrite and the Online-to-Offline Economy. Joining me on stage at Greenstart, the San Francisco cleantech accelerator, will be all three of Eventbrite’s co-founders—Julia Hartz, Kevin Hartz, and Renaud Visage—as well as Sean Moriarty, an Eventbrite board member who was formerly CEO of Ticketmaster.

Entrepreneurs of all stripes can learn from Eventbrite’s founders, who have presided over one of the Bay Area’s fastest expansion stories over the last few years. When I visited the Hartzes in January 2011 they had about 100 employees, packed like sardines into a space in the 410 Townsend building, a traditional SoMa startup hub. Now they’ve got well over 200 people and have taken over an entire building on Brannan Street. As I outlined in a 2011 feature called Nine Startup Scaling Secrets from Eventbrite, the company has been able to grow that quickly by listening to customers, learning from data, taking advantage of social media trends, and keeping things simple. (Eventbrite has resolutely resisted entering adjacent areas. Even products like the newly improved iPhone app are all about helping consumers find events they’ll like and buy tickets.)

At our August 7 event, I’ll ask Julia, Kevin, and Renaud to share more of their insights about O2O strategies and the role of mobile technology in the event world, as well as hiring, fundraising, investing, and work-life balance in a booming startup. And I’ll quiz Ticketmaster alum Moriarty on whether he thinks Eventbrite can eventually eat into the ticketing giant’s market by taking on larger gatherings like rock concerts and sports events.

We’re grateful to Greenstart for hosting the event and to the Wells Fargo Technology & Venture Banking Group for sponsoring it. There’s less than a week left to register (using Eventbrite, of course) at our early bird rate of $45. We also have a special $40 startup rate for employees of companies that are less than three years old and have 20 or fewer employees, and a $15 rate for students. I hope to see you there!


Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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