The deal gives Etix a new suite of services for clients of its ticketing technology. "It takes the company from being a ticketing platform to now being a ticketing platform that offers turnkey marketing services," co-founder Kevin Brown told Billboard. While large venues and promoters tend to have in-house digital marketing teams, a large part of the market does not have those resources, he explains. "We're really serving the fat middle."
The acquisition ups the ante at a time when startups have been successful in raising money to fund their bids for a share of the market. Eventbrite landed $10 million in funding last October from DAG Ventures. Ticketfly raised $3 million in May from High Peaks Venture Partners, Contour Venture Partners and the NYC Seed Fund. And Ticketbiscuit raised an undisclosed sum from C&G Ventures in December.
The companies hope those services will differentiate Etix in a marketplace where such a combination is rare. "In general, ticket companies are still ticketing companies," Brown said.
Although it is now owned by Etix, Rockhouse will continue to service both big and small clients that may not be Etix clients, Brown says. "We're still ticketing-platform agnostic."
Rockhouse Partners was launched in February 2010 by Brown, Tawn Albright and Joe Kustelski. All were executives at echo, a digital marketing company that was acquired by Ticketmaster in 2007. Its clients include Churchill Downs, Delaware State Fair, Lollapalloza, the Ryman Auditorium and the Nashville Predators. Brown and Kustelski will stay on after the acquisition. Albright will move on to a new opportunity to work with Nashville-area startups.