Eventbrite Chief Brand Officer Talks Company's Stock Market Debut & More

Courtesy Photo
   

The ticketing and event management company's shares spiked as high as 70 percent during its stock market debut on Thursday.

Ticketing and event management company Eventbrite began selling shares on the New York Stock Exchange under ticker symbol EB on Thursday (Sept. 20).   

The 12-year-old company, led by co-founder and CEO Julia Hartz, priced its initial public offering at $23 on Wednesday night and saw shares trading above $38 on Thursday.   

Eventbrite is one of the biggest independent ticketing companies in the world and saw net revenue growth rise 51 percent between 2016 and 2017 from $135 million to $201 million. Listing as Live Nation's largest competitor, the company’s IPO was being underwritten by big names investors such as Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Allen & Company, RBC Capital Markets, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey and Stifel.    

   

It’s debut on the stock market saw shares spike as high as 70 percent and closed out the day at $36.50, bringing the company’s value to nearly $3 billion.

Billboard spoke with Eventbrite Chief Brand Officer, Brian Irving, to discuss the strong signs of demand for the newly public company and what it means for the realm of ticketing.

What does today's debut stock price say about the Eventbrite brand and the strength of live entertainment?

The demand we’re seeing reinforces our core belief in the power of human connection and people’s desire to prioritize spending on experiences over material things. This is especially true for the live music space and we see this trend provide a nice tailwind for our business.

Eventbrite posted impressive 51 percent growth YOY from 2016 to 2017, but its loses only dropped by single digits? When is the company forecasting profitability and what are some of the challenges it faces getting there?

We’re focused on growth and how we can continue to capture the large opportunity ahead of us. Following GAAP accounting principals we’re not profitable, however, we have free cash flow in the first half of 2018 which allows us to continue investing in the future.  

Ticketing is a mature market in the United States and becoming increasingly competitive with new entrants into the market. How does Eventbrite plan to grow its market share moving forward? What about international expansion?

We’re focused on the 4.6 billion paid ticket market opportunity that encompasses millions of events around the world. Today, we’re a global platform that sells tickets to events in more than 170 countries around the world and the global market for live experiences is large and rapidly increasing in both size and diversity. In addition to supporting new event categories and countries for ticketing, we’re also developing innovative revenue-generating solutions that deliver additional value to our clients and creators.   

Unlike competitors Ticketmaster and AXS, a lot of Eventbrite's business is in the middle market. Does the company see continued growth in that realm or will it have to take on its larger competitors in order to see growth?   

We’re focused on the 4.6 billion paid ticket market opportunity that encompasses millions of events around the world. Our focus is on servicing the broad range of events that lay between those where the venue dictates the ticketing relationship, like professional sports and blockbuster concerts, and those where there are often no formal venue or event management needs, like small, personal gatherings.

Eventbrite hands out about $20 million a year in advances to creators -- any plans to change the way it pays advances and signing bonuses?

Advances and signing bonuses are common practice in certain segments of our business. We make decisions based on our thorough assessment of the past success of the creators and other financial information to ensure that our exposure is carefully managed.