Millions of people are turning to online channels to purchase tickets to sporting events, concerts, plays and other ticketed events. As this trend continues to grow, ticket promoters have been looking for ways t make the process more social.
Sure some ticket sites let you tweet, or update your Facebook startus to say you purchased a ticket or you’re attending an event. To make the experience more engaging and more social Israeli startup Evento has released a “socially smart’ consumer facing Facebook ticketing app. The team behind Evento claims that their platform has almost unlimited customizable promotion capabilities.
Co-founders Ophir Zardok and Harel Shemer are hoping to increase a ticket promoters bottom line by using the same customers that purchased tickets to socially share their events.
We got a chance to talk to the team behind Evento. Check out the interview about their startup and the Israeli startup community, below.
What is your startup, what does it do?
Evento helps sports teams, event venues and promoters increase ticket sales through social media engagement through cloud-based social layers that expand event awareness beyond traditional ticketing platforms. The company’s primary product is a ‘Socially Smart,’ consumer-facing Facebook ticketing application with customizable event promotion capabilities.
Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?
Ophir Zardok, founder and CEO:
Comes from both an IT and Sports Management background. After graduating from the Haifa Technion, he started his career in one of Israel’s biggest defense systems companies – Rafael. Then he moved to IT security giant, Checkpoint. After checkpoint he decided to follow his passion and move to the sports sector. He graduated from the prestigious FIFA Master program and became CEO of Irish soccer club Drogheda United.
Harel Shemer, founder and CTO:
Also a Haifa Technion graduated who worked for one of the biggest Israeli defense systems companies – Elbit Systems. After 9 years he moved to Phillips Medical Systems Israeli R&D center and became head of development. After Phillips he changed to Israeli billing giant Amdocs and eventually founded his own company.
Where are you based?
Near Haifa, Israel.
What is the startup culture like where you are based?
Israel produces more startups per capita than any other country in the world. It is almost part of our culture here, some might even say that startups is our national sport. There is no specific geographical center for startups in Israel and they are spread around all the country.
What problem does your Evento solve?
On one hand we have event organizers (sports and entertainment) who cannot create synergies between their online ticket sales and their presence on social network. The online ticketing systems are based on software that does not interact with facebook, twitter, google+ etc.
On the other hand we have ticketing agencies who promote events but cannot capitalize on the buzz and discussions that this events create on social networks.
Our startup enables the event organizers and ticketing agencies to directly increase online ticket sales, and indirectly increase them by using ticket buyers to promote the event through their feeds.
What is one challenge that you’ve overcome in the startup process?
Raising money from investors was a big challenge that we overcame, but more importantly – convincing them that we have a winning product.
What are some of the milestones your startup has achieved?
Our first milestone was our first client reached 15% of his online ticket sales via our beta version.
Our second milestone was signing clients in UK and Germany. Stepping out of the familiar Israeli market was very important for us.
What are your next milestones?
We are now looking to sign a big European client that will bring our product to hundreds of thousands of new users. At the same time we are developing the mobile version of the app. After these two milestones we will be looking to get in the U.S. market.
Who are your mentors and role models?
We have several friends either from VC funds or other entrepreneurs (we call them in Hebrew Startupists) who mentor and consult us. As for role models we do not have a picture of someone hanging on our wall and we never really thought of it. I guess it could be any one of the dozens of Israeli startupists who sold their company for more than $20M …
What are some of the advantages/disadvantages growing your startup outside of Silicon Valley?
The biggest disadvantage of growing a startup in Israel is that it’s a small and very particular market in which it difficult to prove concepts. Also the 4-5 flight to Western Europe and the 12 flight to New York is not helpful. I’m not even talking about the flight to San Francisco…
The advantages of growing a startup in n Israel have been widely discussed.
What’s next for your startup?
We hope to sign some major soccer European clients during 2013. We have a few in the pipeline and even if we get only one it will be a great step. At the same time we developing the mobile app and preparing our entry strategy to the U.S. market and are researching a bit into South America and China.
Where can people find out more, and what is your Twitter username?
Are you going to the largest startup conference in the U.S.? Everywhereelse.co The Startup Conference